Do you know your Soho bears from your West End Jedis? If not, here’s Jonny Ensall’s handy guide to London facial hair. Illustration David Ziggy Greene
Imagine seeing a real bear with a real beard? That would be incredible. Until our lazy zoologists get round to making that important discovery, however, we can marvel at this iconic jowl covering, as modelled by London’s top ursine DJs Horse Meat Disco, and everyone in the Kings Arms, Soho. Full, yet well-maintained, with a strong neckline, it puts the ‘ooh!’ in Pooh.
The Victorian Craftsman
The beard as personality statement reaches its apotheosis with this mannish mandible carpet, incorporating a ZZ Topesque hanging garden of chin hair with a stout, waxed moustache on top. ‘I don’t even know who Bon Iver is, I’m so out-of-touch with the world’s whimsies,’ it proudly states. Pair with £150 jeans and a cushy job in an East End creative agency.
Are you a lazy scruffbag? About as fashionable as a Beanie Baby wearing cargo pants? Don’t worry, you too can latch on to this whole beard trend. All you need to do is – wait for it – stop shaving. That thing you hate doing anyway. Simply cease and, like magic, raggedy tufts of fuzz will sprout from your melon, allowing you to blend in almost seamlessly with south-east London’s student population.
The Neck Beard
Aka the ‘Michael Eavis’. Rarely encountered (perhaps because it’s a favourite of bedroom-bound internet forum addicts), this strap-like band of fur, without moustache, represents a bold choice for anyone who actually appears in public. Still, you might occasionally catch sight of a hairy underhang on public transport: a thrilling, if unnerving, experience.
The Jedi Knight
For a few men, facial hair arrives simply as a result of their overflowing reserves of cool: Morgan Freeman; Kenny Rogers; Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes, that last one’s a fictional example, but there is something mythical about this perfect specimen – the effortlessly immaculate beard worn by London’s most fashionable men (eg people who eat, or cook, at Chiltern Firehouse). Look, but don’t touch, plebs.
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