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A Brief Rant on Style

MarkwahlbergThe New York Times has declared beards back in, that is, ones that stretch "from the chin and mustache out to the sideburns" and not ones you carry on your arm in front of the cameras. But we digress.

Citing "counterculture heroics" in the movies, youth in "hipster hangouts", and psychological studies that link beards to masculinity, the gray lady has declared the beard back.

"There is even a reference to the gay subculture of 'bears': men who are unapologetically hirsute. Largely a fringe element only a few years ago, bear culture is winning converts among gay men turned off by the plucked and waxed world of 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.'"

But some New York "bears" are not happy with the article (" I think it's stupid, and I hate when Style Writers make a look I like "trendy." It also seems to make beards seem effete, studied and in need of a $75 groomer. I personally view mine as a way to avoid grooming entirely and to stick to a $12 barber."). Of course it doesn't help when the article is written by a bitchy ex-housemate from Fire Island. Meow!

Beards are the mark of movie stars "who flaunt their whiskers as a kind of too-cool-for-school look when not shooting" such as Mark Wahlberg, who can't remember the last time he punched somebody for no reason. I guess that makes him too cool for school.

Our friend Rod (formerly at brotha2brotha), who incidentally moved his site earlier this week, hit briefly on the article appearing in this month's Details featuring Mr. Wahlberg on the cover, noting that the article skips and jingles over Wahlberg's thug past and right into the arms of what every Details reader wants to read about: the gays that turned him into an overnight sensation.


Markymark_2"David Geffen is the one who spotted the marketing potential in this finely calibrated dance of seduction and menace, urging Calvin Klein to hire the kid as an underwear model. To Wahlberg, the Herb Ritts photo shoot that turned him, overnight, into a poster boy for male prerogative seemed like no big deal—an easy paycheck, a free lunch, an hour or two making nice with a topless British girl named Kate Moss. Also dropping by the studio, he recalls, were a number of prominent Hollywood executives: enough of the so-called Gay Mafia to give Michael Ovitz the vapors. 'I think it was always clear what I like, my sexual preference,' Wahlberg says, 'so I wasn't threatened by it.'

In the end, it was precisely Wahlberg's nonchalance about his own sexual power that made the resulting pictures so subversive. This was 1992, and the sensitive male was in ascendancy. Wahlberg, with that dumb-ass smirk and willy-clutching joie de vivre, celebrated a side of the male libido that the rest of us were busy trying to stuff back into our Dockers."


Probably one of the most homoerotic ads ever created. So what's right and what's wrong and does any of it really matter or is it just a way to fill newspaper (and blog!) space and make people think they need to change themselves to be 'too cool for school'?

I've found myself attracted to both pretty boys with a little bit of nelly in them and rough, masculine, hairy men. I think it's all about the context and not having the urge (in many ways thrust upon us by the media) to put people into little boxes. Why should we limit ourselves?

Please note that I've used the royal "we" throughout most of this post. I just felt like it.

Shaggy Chic: The Call of the Semi-Wild [nyt]

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  1. Oddly, Mark Wahlberg has improved as he's aged. And oddly, I find him more attractive as a person when he's underplaying the "sex" and in preppie-mode; than when he was a man-boy thug. His Marky-Marky personna was very-erotic, but not attractive as a person.

    Posted by: Ted B. | Apr 29, 2005 4:48:24 PM

  2. I don't understand what this post is about. It goes from beards being "in" to a study on Donny Wahlberg? What's the connection here? You lost me.

    Posted by: Patrick | Apr 30, 2005 12:44:43 AM

  3. When I first saw the cover I thought it was BILLY CRYSTAL.

    He is not aging well. And his time is up.


    Let's have some fresh and HOT meat, not this old, tired piece of soy.

    Posted by: Sammy | Apr 30, 2005 11:41:19 AM

  4. yeah I think I lost me too Patrick

    Posted by: andy | Apr 30, 2005 12:33:04 PM

  5. I didn't get lost...the post went from the new "buzz beard look" to Katie Holmes being used as a beard by Tom Cruise...keeping clicking,'s all there.

    Posted by: JOHN | Apr 30, 2005 5:59:55 PM

  6. Delve a little further into this month's Details and you'll see a short piece by Augusten Burroughs on this very subject. Facial hair, yo: it's the new black. Unfortunately, I can't grow a goddamned whisker.

    Posted by: Josh K. | Apr 30, 2005 8:24:36 PM

  7. Mark Wahlberg was HOT in those Calvin Klein ads & I think he's still a stone hottie today.

    Posted by: Mike P | Apr 30, 2005 10:18:37 PM

  8. What Mike P. and Ted B. said: Wahlberg's current persona & person are much more attractive than the 'Marky Mark', CK thing. Although, yeah, that was hot, too ...

    Posted by: rudysdad | May 2, 2005 1:14:04 AM

  9. First untucked beards...can we get any more ungroomed...?

    Posted by: Brian | May 2, 2005 10:13:35 AM

  10. I think it is "stupid" when people get upset when the media lets a greater group in on their little secret. Nothing bothers me more when indier-than-thou types declare a band has sold out, simply because they got popular.

    I thought all men grow beards. It is not a look exclusive to any one group.

    Posted by: yb | May 2, 2005 12:50:13 PM

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