If you've viewed my profile picture or any other picture taken of me since 1991, you've seen a goatee. Sometimes long like a biker, sometimes trimmed to within a shadow of existence, but a goatee nonetheless. Sure, for a few rare periods it had been surrounded by a full beard. The goatee, however, has been a constant companion for close to two decades. Or had been. I shaved that goat this past Halloween.
I don't expect many of you actually care about my facial hair configuration. Yet I'm inspired on this weekend – the very day that The Men Who Stare At Goats opens – to reflect for a bit on just what the goatee has come to signify in American male culture. And why I encourage each and every one of you to lose yours before it's too late.
There was a time about 20 years ago when the goatee had come back into vogue as "edgy." Dare I say, "grungy." Possibly, for a few years there, it was sexy. Can some of us still rock the goat? Most assuredly. But it had become a crutch for me and so many other men like me. That's why the clean look is the new edgy, in my own personal style universe. I realize many of you have come to rely upon my style recommendations over the years. I mean, remember Zubaz? You're welcome.
You're probably asking, what's next? Doing away with the ironic t-shirt? Or losing the baseball cap? No, no let's not throw the baby out with the proverbial bong water here.
Ponder for a moment the momentous monstrosity that is The GoateeSaver. Here you have a product marketed to seduce the goatee wearer with the false claims that "(Your goatee) reflects your personality. It declares your individuality. Your goatee is much more than just facial hair, your goatee style helps fashion your identity." So true. So ironically, dispassionately true.
Next, consider some of the more famous of those examples of men rockin' the goat. In no particular order, I select:
1. the current Brad Pitt. Crazy, grey goat.
2. the old Spock. Lush, galactic goat.
3. the Chuck Todd. Wonky, sexless goat.
5. the Kevin Youkilis. Should guest-star on Sons of Anarchy biker goat. The single best name/goat pairing in modern history.
6. the Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory on the Season Premiere episode. Dork goat (proving anyone can grow one).
7. the Todd Palin. Purposeless goat (especially ironic if worn on a snowmobile in Alaska).
8. the Dave Navarro. Douchy goat, always in transition.
9. the Billy Bob Thornton. The afraid to act his real age goat.
10. the Frank Zappa. The technically-not-a-goat goat that everyone lets slide because, well, it's Zappa.
Aside from Zappa, I gotta say I'm happy to be out of that particular club. So, please, gentlemen. I implore you. Take a look at your chin. Or what's hidden there where your chin used to be. Maybe you're like me and your face is rounder than you'd like to remember it being. Maybe your chin is as weak as a George W. Bush motivational speech. Or maybe you just like to think you still look good and Pearl Jam's new album shows no sign of going out of style. Whatever the excuse, look around and consider your goat peers. Then take a look at yourself. Not a deep introspective look. Just a shallow, superficial look. You'll be glad you did.
And, once again, you're welcome.