You can buy a beard, but you can’t buy respect.
Men, lots of men, are going to plastic surgeons because—are you sitting down? They can’t grow a satisfactory beard.
Get out? No, you get out. It was in The New York Times! Men. Are. Getting. Beard. Transplants.
While The Times shoves the story inside, this is front page news here at Five O’Clock. Because, to date, this trend is the most definitive indication that the American Man is losing it.
The first sign is that most men interviewed for this story didn’t give their full names, anonymous sources having devolved from national security to personal insecurity. Then, there’s the actual reason these dudes cite for paying a plastic surgeon to harvest hairs from the back of their heads, and transplanting them onto their cheeks; they feel it makes them seem more manly, more mature, more respectable.
I know Harold’s idea of installing urinals and water guns as standard equipment in all of our SUV’s sounds childish and insane… but his beard makes me think he may be onto something.
Self-worth has taken a back seat to the perceptions of others and, even worse, cultivating our manhood has given rise to the notion of the quick-fix.
Self-loathing has become a catalyst for industry. Roughly 25 years ago in LA, news broke of a sudden spate of Venice Beach bodybuilders getting calf implants. Who cares about calves? (We grounded men thought…) But the truth is, the unapologetic vanity inspiring those bodybuilders is preferable to the motives of the beard transplant patient. You see, no amount of weightlifting could deliver the calves of an implant.
The beard patients, however, are seeking a metaphysical payout. In lieu of putting in the effort to listen, learn, or organically experience those things which make a man respectable and substantial, they’re seeking to have those qualities implanted in their faces. There is something horribly wrong when vanity becomes the path to inner self-improvement.
We don’t mean to be hard on this new subset of gentlemen. After all, being a man has always been harder than it looks. Perhaps it’s good that guys keep showing up with innovative neuroses as if the grind of insecurity is something new. Perhaps it’s a positive sign of gender equality that men are catching up with women when it comes to elective cosmetic surgery. Perhaps there really is something to the way James Harden, and his super dense beard, became the unquestioned leader of the Houston Rockets so quickly. Perhaps…
No, no more “perhaps.”
The brass tacks is this: implanting a beard on your face won’t buy respect or gravitas, the same way saying “I didn’t kill him,” won’t buy perps a walk. As a gender, we need to remember when it comes to manhood, as with life in general, there are no quick-fixes. It takes work.
And by the way, Steph Curry, who barely has peach fuzz, edged out Harden for NBA MVP.