Do you remember when Keanu Reeves grew a beard? I mean, if you could grow a beard, why would you grow that one? Even more baffling is that there are plenty of examples of excellent facial hair out there to be inspired by. As Newton once put it, he could have stood on the beards of giants.
This started to remind me of the sliding scale of beard and fashion awareness that I see out there. Here are some stereotypes:
Have you met those people who couldn’t care less about fashion? Well, not even that… they can’t even see the difference in quality. You show them two men, one shaven and one bearded, or two bearded men side by side, and they have no preference what-so-ever. These people have no idea why some folk much prefer beards. They would never notice or care about Keanu and more power to them.
The A/B Eye Test
Next up you have the folks who can tell that something is “better”. They love their beard, or their friends’ beards, although they can’t really tell you why. If you put two bearded men in front of them they will tell you that they prefer A over B, but can’t really articulate why. They get it at an unconscious level.
My eyes! my eyes!
Then you have the folks who are personally pained by the clean-shaven. Keanu and a bald chin both make their eyes bleed. They think that Gillette should die, and that Leonardo diCaprio is so much better in Inception than in The Beach.
When given the A/B test, they are able to discern what they like and dislike about a given beard, and they come up with things to improve. They get it.
Then there are the folks who can go to the next level. They can create great facial hair, or model it perfectly. It can look good in the current fashion, or the best ones are able to make the future. They make you love their look.
Now, of course these are gross generalizations. I can jump around a little between these categories even depending on my mood that day. I can amaze myself coming up with something decent one day, and then be staring at crap another. Kinda like my pool game… you hit enough good balls that you are willing to come back some time to play again.
I really enjoy watching folks in the top two categories. It’s fine that there are people out there who haven’t yet properly understood why having chin fur makes you better. They’ll get there. Don’t be cruel to them; don’t chastise them. It takes time for everyone.
Where do you fit?
(With apologies to Dion, of course, but the point’s an important one; people who disagree with what you like in design don’t necessarily disagree just because they’re not yet as enlightened as you.)