Freud never mentioned Beard Envy: Why are all my favorite bands so hairy?

Posted: January 28, 2009 by Carrie Waite in Carrie Waite, gender stuff, music
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Carrie Waite

Growing up as a little one in the 1970s, my father ALWAYS had a beard. Always, in some form, in some various stage of growth, he was hairy and scary. I had this photograph of him that I was slightly obsessed with because you could actually see his bare face in it. It was either a mugshot or one of those photo booth pics. Let’s go with mugshot.  And I really hated his beard. Every time he’d pick me up for one of those “Dad Weekends”, he would insist on kissing my delicate little face and it felt like sandpaper ripping my skin off. But now, I seem to surround myself with the very thing that frightened me as a little girl. Hairy scary men.

So, tonight we started talking about how all the bands that are popping up in my iPod mix freaking have beards (maybe we’ll cover the ironic mustache trend in a future post, but don’t get me started on that right now). Half the magazine covers at Borders sport a beard (either a beard or Obama this week).

Death Cab For Cutie on The Big Takeover, Fleet Foxes on Under The Radar and even Zach Braff was all sorts of fuzzy on the cover of Geek Monthly. I heard your band must have at least one bearded member to get signed to Sup Pop nowadays and the New World Brewery is like a gang, no make that a secret club for boys with beards most nights. It makes me jealous that I can’t grow one.  

I admit it.  I think beards are pretty sexy, now. Even the scraggly, unkempt ones can have a certain Grizzly Adams charm to them. What is it about the beard? Is it simply a fashion accessory? A resurgent cultural phenomenon? Just plain laziness (this one gets my vote)? Damn manly though, if you ask me.  

Perhaps it’s a sign that my beloved indie-rock has become a “mature” genre. God forbid, are we getting old? Why do all my favorite men look homeless?

Carrie’s favorite hairy bands

The Dirtbombs
Drag the River and Cory Branan
Band of Horses
TV On The Radio
Fleet Foxes
Jeff Tweedy has had some adorable ones
and some really scary ones.
Most iconic beard goes to Lemmy
Sexiest beard has to be Dave Grohl’s

Some Blogs about beards:
John McNicholas even participated in a beard contest a few years back. He still has the stinkin’ thing. It’s adorable, John. 
And I hear jojoba oil is great for when you’re finally ready to rid yourself of the hairy beast on your face and shave it off.

But don’t.

  1. Joey says:

    We’re beards, we’re hairy, get used to it. Was that pic of you and Gina with Vincent Gallo taken at R&R Hotel in DC? Rad.

  2. tampastica says:

    Very funny! In a recent write-up for the times, I called the hairy cuties at New World “babyfaced beardos.”

    I can relate somewhat. When I was a kid in the 70s, I was surrounded by hippie hair and shaggy-ness and didn’t like it — maybe ’cause it was inescapable and I was always a devil’s advocate by nature.

    I do remember, one day, I watched a sydicated episode of the Monkees and looked at my older siblings’ Beatles records and wondered, why don’t boys look like this anymore. I asked my older, long-haired brothers, why don’t you have short hair and pointed at their old school portraits.

    I think that the clean-cut look of the boys on 1960s reruns I watched brainwashed me — My Three Sons, the Brady Bunch — plus that look had an otherness to it that I thought was ideal.

    Incidentally, the Peter Brady look became very fashionable in the 80s, if you recall. Remember old photos of New Order, Haircut 100? The vintage shirts, the moptops?

    I confess, I’m still a little partial to the clean-shaven look today.

    Then again, some do look sexy with a beard and/or long hair. Dave Grohl? Yes, hubba hubba.

    I take it on a face-by-face basis!

    As to why it’s so trendy, I’m guessing it’s a compensation thing, a shortcut to masculinity without all the pesky weight-training and whatnot. Guys have a thing about looking wimpier than their peers. Go Grizzly Adams and you’re a measure more menacing.

    … But those boyish eyes can’t be disguised!

  3. Jimmy says:

    A beard???? No! Never! I had a goatie once, and I looked idiotic!
    If there was a patrol of armed trend police I’d be shot!

    Please tell me this is NOT a trend!

    I won’t do it until women does it!


  4. […] and fan girl Carrie Waite wants to discuss bands with beards at the Sweaty Bitches of Rock “N” Roll […]

  5. Kajsa Arkanius says:

    Love the angle “Freud never mentioned the Beard Envy”…and the fact that people so far haven’t mentioned that and/or compaired it with Freud’s other “envy” theories in their comments.
    You folks…what’s your theory?
    And why do a lot of wommen love hair on the “boys”? Either on the head, in the face or on the chest? And some absolutely despite it?

  6. Kajsa Arkanius says:

    ps. God and Jesus are rather “hairy” when they are “pictured”. How’s that?

  7. Kevin Croitz says:

    I never get passed the 3 week period when its starting to look like a beard, but just gets too itchy. During my 20’s it was a nice bushy goatee, the old rat pelt look, as they called it during the Second Empire of Louis Napolean, that made me happy, till I saw ever redneck from Ocala to Texarcana had one then I kept my face shaved, except for the occasional mustache or soul patch. I like a pencil thin mustache every now and then when I go to Atlantic City, just looks debonaire. Whats with all the 20 and 30 year olds with the Taliban look lately? How do they keep the tomato sauce and cookie crumbs out of that thing? I keep my face bare for the most part now, I like to feel a kiss on the face, or the lips.

  8. Vanessa Hay says:

    I thought that this was going to be a piece about gay men who once married women to disguise their true sexuality….and it was really about beards. I guess sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

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