Being the month of November. a number of men in my City have been challenged to a good cause–raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer while growing a prize-winning mustache and/or beard. I’ve heard it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Among the younger generation, the “Soul Patch”–a vertical strip of hair grown in the cleft of the chin or directly below the centre of the lower lip–is fairly common. My barber friend rattles off names like Vandyke, Chin Strap, Balbo, Door Knocker, Donegal, Royale, Mutton Chops and Stashburns–all referring to different styles of beards or combinations of beard and mustache.
I’ve always admired men with beards or mustaches. Not the scruffy beards nor the wispy beginnings of something, but a nicely trimmed Vandyke or a healthy full-blown “Shenandoah” beard. I remember my brother coming home for the holidays with the start of something on his chin. It never grew into a lush beard but instead became skimpy chin hairs, very much like an ancient,oriental Fu-Manchu look. He took a fair amount of good-natured teasing whenever the family got together so his “new look” didn’t last long.
We all have our quirks and foibles–those little traits of habit we all do without realizing that we’re doing it. Or perhaps, we do know and do it anyway. One of my girlfriends would twirl a strand of her hair around her fingers when she was seriously thinking of a solution to a problem. Another friend would resort to bread making the old-fashion way–sans bread-making machine–so she could pound out her frustrations. But, it’s some of my bearded friends who do thing with their beards and/or mustaches.
Ethan has a “circle beard”–that’s a goatee with a mustache. It’s always neatly trimmed giving him a rather academic look. My cousin tells me when Ethan plays poker with the guys, everyone would surreptitiously check to see if Ethan is doing this thing of gently stroking his beard and giving it a tug, as he ponders whether or not to raise his bet. Ethan hasn’t figure out why he can’t bluff anyone with his so-called “poker” face.
Abe Lincoln’s beard was called the “Chin Curtain” and he was often seen stroking his chin as he contemplated the politics of his time. Charlie Chapin didn’t have a beard but he did sport his trademark “toothbrush mustache.” And yes, he did stroke his mustache occasionally–perhaps to check that it was still there. . . .
Anyway, I have a theory on why my hairy-face friends do this thing with their mustaches and/or beards. Can you imagine enjoying a plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Like having that darn spinach or bit of broccoli in your teeth–they have to make sure there’s no evidence of anything embedded in the foliage. Gentle and constant stroking encourages the follicles to bloom. It’s written in fine print in the “Beards and Mustaches Ownership Manual,” that all men have to caress and stroke their beards and/or mustaches at least 20 times a day. And lastly, if they have the right style with matching attitude, they can carry off that scholarly, thoughtful, philosophical, caring, helpful, humanitarian persona.
Weak chins have nothing to do with beards and mustaches. It is definitely a guy thing and can have a certain appeal to the opposite sex. The right beard and/or mustache lends character to as manly face. Haven’t you noticed the amazing difference in appearance when someone you’ve known and who always had a beard and/or mustache, decides to shave it off?
So, go ahead Guys—grow your Balbo, Door Knocker, Chin Strap, Goatee, etc. Raise awareness and money for a worthy cause—after all, it’s your life. . . .
4 thoughts on “Balbo, Chin Strap and Door Knockers”
I’m a short-hair, clean-shaven man kind of gal. Since moving to Norwich, we have seen more beards that I’d ever seen in London. Some are bushy, long – they could act as winter scarves. To the point where when we’re walking in the street, my husband will say, “Across the road, look, Norfolk beard.”
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That’s really interesting, Katherine—I can now add Norfolk beard to my collection of names–perhaps, this is a “Winter” thing in Norfolk? Hey, can we still be BFF’s even though you don’t care for doughnuts and beards? 🙂
I’m going to share these new names with my two sons- both sport facial hair.
I’m finding this so educational and here, I thought a beard is just a beard! Thanks for adding your comment Annette–hard to believe you have two young men in your family. Where did the years go?. . . 🙂