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Balbo, Chin Straps, Door Knockers and More

Being the month of November, a number of men in my city have been challenged to a good cause--raising funds for prostate cancer awareness 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 strip of vertical hair grown directly below the lower lip, in the centre--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 the different styles of beards and combination of beards with mustaches.

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 or habits we all do without realizing why we do it. Or, perhaps we do know why. One of my girlfriends would twirl a strand of her hair around her fingers while she seriously pondered a solution to a problem. Another friend would resort to bread making the old-fashion way--sans machine--so she could pound out her frustrations. But, it's some of my "hairy-face" friends who do this thing with their beards and/or mustaches.

Ethan has a "circle beard," like 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 his thing--gently stroking his beard--as he ponders whether or not to raise the pot. Ethan still 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 Chaplin didn't have a beard but he did sport his trademark "toothbrush mustache." And yes, he did stroke his mustache occasionally--perhaps to check it was still there.

Anyway, I have my theories on why my hairy-faced friends do this thing with their mustaches and/or beards. Can you imagine enjoying a plate of spaghetti and meat balls? Like having that darn spinach or broccoli bit 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 ownership manual for "Growing Facial Hairs," that all men have to caress and stroke at least 20 times a day.  And lastly, if the men have the right style with matching attitude, they can carry off that scholarly, thoughtful, philosophical, caring, helpful, humanitarian personna.

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 a manly face. Haven't you noticed the difference in appearance when someone you've known who always had a beard or mustache decided to shave it off?  Or vice-versa?

So go ahead, Guys--do your thing with your Balbo, Door Knocker, Chin Strap, Goatee, etc.  And raise money for a worthy cause--it's your life.