Sometimes B-a-B receives killer tips from fans who scout beards on our behalf. We were beyond thrilled when a loyal reader introduced us to Adam Lisagor who runs (or writes at) numerous blogs, but is best known for lonelysandwich. Adam is a resident of Los Angeles and is keeping the city legit by rocking some killer face fur. He was gracious enough to send B-a-B some interesting facts and FAQs of him and due to the absolute awesomeness of his answers (spanning from Stanley Kubrick's beard, his thoughts on H. Ross Perot, why chin-pads suck, to Freud's narcissism of small differences), this is going to be a special two-part interview.
One thing is for certain - Adam is serious about his beard. Luckily, B-a-B is a firm believer that good things come to obsessive-compulsives who fixate. Adam feels that "beards are certainly in fashion, and there aren't any signs of that momentum slowing." Here's a blog post he wrote about his beard a couple years back, in response to a TIME article about their growing popularity.
Below are a few topics that B-a-B was privileged to talk to Adam about....
Background (via Adam)
In its current full-breaded state, my beard has been living with me since 2003. I had a girlfriend during college that was always encouraging me to grow a beard, and I'd experimented with facial hair configurations from the time I could get a patch of hair to coagulate on any spot of my face, but a beard always seemed too manly and, for lack of a better term, too dad for me. And I'm one of those adult males who was emotionally 17 for some time into his 20s, and then 23 until about the age of 30. So a beard was out of the question, at least until I was paying all of my own rent.
The Experiment, Gilligan, & Jim Jarmusch
My first experiment with facial hair was a small tuft on the point of my chin. A Maynard G. Krebs, as I've always called it, after Gilligan's beatnik character from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Mind you, this wasn't a chin-pad, which is, was and always will be a mortal sin in the world of facial hair. This was a small patch which signified the wearer as a member of the counterculture in the 90s, when I wore it in my first year of college. I'd been a jazzbo, and the look suited me. A huge fan of Jim Jarmusch and his prematurely gray hair, I even attempted to dye mine gray at one point but I did it wrong and it hurt my face.
Sideburns Central, Luke Perry, & Training To Go Beard
Next came sideburns. Real Luke Perry specials. Something every young man should try once, and certainly better than the other extreme, which is whitewalls, which is the anti-beard, and great if you want to look like you're most at home at a petting zoo or a Civil War museum. During and particularly after college, I smoked a lot of weed, so of course I grew pork chops. Pork chops are training ground for a full beard. And in 2001, beards weren't the rage as they are now. So I had to ease the world into my hairy face, or vice versa. The world had to ease me into my hairy face. Just look at the size of that J!
Anyhow, as soon as I grew out of my unemployed post-college phase and joined the working world, it was time to try a beard out. And it worked for me. In the 80s, my dad always had a beard, and he looked pretty good. As an adult, I look a lot like my dad, so I sort of think of him in the 80s whenever I see myself bearded. Now, he's done more of a van dyke (which I'm not a huge fan of unless you're The Dude) but it can look not bad on a distinguished older man. Here's me, bearded, and my dad, van dyked.
Remembering Your Face
Every so often towards the beginning of my beard tenure, I'd have to shave it off to remember what my face looked like. See this picture for what my face looks like. But I hate to shave. I hate it. Even in a hot shower, it'd bug the shit out of me, so I'd just stop shaving. And I think that's where the beard mostly came from—laziness. So in addition to signifying membership in a counterculture, it signifies laziness, which is most often part and parcel.
Avoid Enhancing Fleshiness
By now, at 32, I've gone at least 3 or 4 years without having done more than close-crop the beard, and I don't think I will shave it any time soon. My normal grooming regimen is about every two weeks, I'll pull out the Wahl and give it the once over with a #3 guard, and then a #2 and then clean up the neck area. But most important, MOST IMPORTANT, is to go gradually into a bare neck. Don't, under any circumstance, make a sharp edge at the bottom of your beard and leave that whole patch of under-jaw bare. Because it will enhance the fleshiness of your skin and make you look like a dork. In grade school, I'd always get A's on map making by feathering the borders of the land and the water. I apply this philosophy to my beard trimming and it hasn't failed me. Oh, and no chin-straps, fellas. No way, Jebediah.
The Signature Beard & Shooting Lasers
And my beard has, by this point, become my signature. My face is pretty easily maleable, and I have no problem changing my look, so I'm quite sure that many people wouldn't recognize me if I were to lose the beard. Likewise, my thick plastic frames. At some point, I'll get laser eye surgery (so I can shoot lasers from my eyes) and I'll no longer need glasses. But I'm quite sure that I'll still wear non-prescription frames because I like frames and they're sort of my trademark. To an obnoxious point, actually. I get a lot of "Oh, here's a picture of a guy that looks just like you!" and it'll just be some schlub with a beard and glasses, but an entirely dissimilar face. I'll make it clear here and now: knock that shit off, people. We are actual human beings under our beards and glasses, unique like snowflakes and unlike that analogy.
(Stay tuned for Part II....)