Zine #1

8/19/11

I just got into zines recently but I’ve been aware of them for a while.  When I was in college I had a friend, named Kyle, who was all about them. She was a DIY kind of person. I also found out about 2 years after we became friends that she had an identical twin and they totally pulled that switching thing where they pretended to be each other and confuse everyone. But anyway, that’s how I first heard of zines.

So I wasn’t sure how to start, but I did like the idea that I could get some short form thoughts put down on paper. I’m writing a novel, which I’ve been doing for a couple of years now, and although I’ve had a fair amount of progress it just seems harder to keep together plots, make things tie up, etc…

I figured I’d stick with the one rule of writing that I actually believe in, which is write what you know. And like anyone I know lots of things, for example I’m very familiar with how to grow a beard. I also know how to run really long distances and never give up. These probably sound like things you could not or would not ever do, but like anything it really just takes practice. So give yourself a couple of years and you too could be mistaken for a homeless man who is running away from the police. True story, that happened to me once.

So without further ado, let’s talk about beards. We all know someone who has one, whether it’s by design or they just don’t feel like shaving anymore. I’ve grown beards for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I’ve grown a beard because I liked the way it looks, or because I need to store food for later consumption.

In my experience there’s usually a reason. It can be related to a person’s idea of who they are (badass, intellectual, or just plain grubby) and it also can have something to do with how the  bearder wants to be perceived by other people, the beardees, aka the people who’ve been bearded to. There are basic archetypes, and I want to share just a few with you and then explain my reasons for having a beard.

The guy who is alright with everything and everyone

You’ve probably run into this guy before. And he’s probably apologized and assured you that it’s no big deal and not to worry about the sole of the sandal you just stepped on that tore right off. He’s a great guy, and his beard is an extension of his personality. It says, hey man, don’t worry about anything, let it be, and let it grow. He probably also doesn’t do a lot of precision grooming of his beard, and he may or may not shave off the accompanying neck beard. He is also often a hippie.

The beard’s beard

This is the beard that a beard would have, if it were a person. It’s usually worn by a guy who takes good care of himself, he may work out a lot or do extreme sports, and it’s manicured more carefully than a golf course. He’s the guy who kicks ass and also has a beard. He isn’t necessarily arrogant, but he can be. Usually you’ll be able to tell exactly where the beard starts and stops, and it’ll probably be trimmed on all the outside edges. This works well if you’re able to grow a dark, thick and robust type of facial hair. The man with a beard’s beard is usually confident, and has had a beard for a considerable length of time. He also seems to be very well liked by the ladies and men also, but it’s hard to tell if this guy actually gets any action. You’re more likely to see him out on the town than you are up close and personal in the back of his Doge Dart. Just kidding, a beard’s beard would never drive a car like that.

This guy doesn’t give a fuck

Ok, so this is a great one. This is the guy who grows a beard because he could care less what you or anyone thinks of him or wants him to do. He may or may not be in the habit of wearing sunglasses and inadvertently quoting lines from the Big Lebowski on a regular basis. His deal is this: someone, somewhere, treated him with great injustice. It could be an ex-lover who messed him over, or maybe it’s related to having a crappy job or roommate or something like that. Whatever it is, he’s not gonna take your shit anymore, ok?

The horn rimmed glasses guy with a beard at a hardcore show

This is really one of the best of the beards. It’s usually very full, and natural and not often styled. This guy is great, he’s just the fucking epitome of why you would want to have a beard in the first place. His stupid girlfriend broke up with him to start seeing some dude or maybe chick in another band. She was cool, smart, had bitchin’ good looks and sweet tattoos, and now he’s miserable because she left. Typically he’s going to be fairly shy, maybe have a little bit of a PBR belly, and he’s a nice guy. But you have to understand that his entire world view is tinged by his great loss of love, so that’s what the beard is for, it’s to tell the entire world how much his heart is breaking, but he’s not a 12 year old girl so he can’t actually just say that out loud.

There’s a lot of other beards out there, but this is a good start and I don’t want to bore you to death with my in-depth analysis of beards.

So, maybe you’re wondering, what kind of beard do I have. Over the years I have dabbled in a number of categories, but I wouldn’t say I fit neatly into any particular definition. I’ve definitely done the guy who doesn’t give a fuck beard before. I’ve also been in the beard’s beard category to a certain extent, although I can’t really give myself credit for being quite that cool of a beard guy.

Right now, I’d say it has some elements of the not giving a fuck, I like the way it looks, and of course food storage. But also it has something I like to call barriers to entry. It’s similar to the way the term is used in economic theory in regards to competition. Basically, in the parlance of our times it means if it throws you off or you can’t handle it than maybe I’m not your kind of person. It’s got certain advantages when it comes to friendship, but it’s like a goldmine in romantic settings. I mean, how many people do you know that actually like a beard? I’m not talking about liking someone in spite of them having a beard, mind you. The majority of women I know think I’m a decent sort of guy, but the beard reminds them we are friends and if they are looking for anything else they’re going to have to meet some strict standards. Liking a beard for example. Of course, the food storage, well I’ll give anyone a free pass on that, that’s disgusting.

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