Splitting hairs on comeback of beards

  • Updated: January 31, 2013 - 9:45 AM

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

CP: When Daniel Day-Lewis came up for his Golden Globe last Sunday, all I could look at was his chin, suddenly naked after all those whiskers he wore in "Lincoln." It was a thing of odd fascination, like the volcano at Haleakala after the clouds have been burned off by the day's heat.

RN: Didn't notice. I was still fixated on the beardness that was Ben Affleck. That man was born to have a beard. A real beard, not a Bradley Cooper I-haven't-shaved-in-five-days-and-look-fabulously-disheveled beard.

CP: Meh. I think he looked like one of the choices on that toy where you pick a beard style and then "paint" it in with a magnet and some iron filings.

 RN: Stop it, you're killing me. Some men just have the knack for the wall-to-wall facial-carpet thing. Then there's someone like Christopher Abbott, who plays the sweeter-than-sweet Charlie on HBO's "Girls." He needs to lose that grubby patchwork post-puberty beard, pronto.

CP: I think Globe-winner Lena Dunham delights in making poor sweet Charlie look like the Bearded Lady. On a much touchier topic, what'd you think of Hugh Jackman's facial hair? I gave his oversized goatee thingy the hashtag #almostabeard. As in, no. But I know you think he jogs on water, so.

RN: My first thought was, Why, Hugh, why? Still, despite suffering from the flu and sporting a chin brush not seen on the silver screen since Ralph Richardson in the 1949 classic "The Heiress," Mr. Jackman still managed to look better than 99.9 percent of humanity.

CP: I pretty much knew you would say that. Just remember that he repeatedly called out to his wife ("baby") from the podium.

RN: Thanks, bubble-buster.

CP: Where is all this new beardness coming from? The Fake Lumberjacks of Williamsburg? The Real Minnesotans of Loring Park?

RN: That would explain the bushy beard phenomenon that is all the rage among a certain subset of the gay male population. Hirsute mega-blogger Andrew Sullivan is a leading proponent.

CP: Guys with beards will say, "Oh, I got tired of shaving every day." To which I reply, I get tired of brushing and flossing, but you don't see me stopping those daily activities.

RN: Touché. My tastes, beard-wise, run to the well-trimmed variety, as espoused by several guys at our gym -- Nate and Trevor, for instance -- who are so rocking the heck out of it that they're contenders for the BHOF. That's Beard Hall of Fame, by the way.

CP: Make that Non-Splotchy BHOF. Mine comes in like a map of lakes country, or a Jeanne Gang curtain wall.

RN: Mine, too, I'm sorry to say. Although I'm fairly certain that, when we met in the mid-1990s, you were doing the goatee thing. It was very Maynard G. Krebs-at-Cafe-Wyrd, and it totally suited you.

CP: Can't recall what got into me, but I wore that for quite a while. People kept wanting to hit me on the chin, so I shaved.

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com Follow on Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib

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