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Des Moines, Iowa


The Little Book of Beards

Geoff Wood


It's pretty much a forgone conclusion that my young son, Graham, will one day have a beard. I had a beard off and on in high school (after I reached the point that I could grow one) and college and pretty much continuously since undergrad. In fact, the beard has become so much a part of me that when I asked my then-fiancé if I should shave it for the wedding, she said emphatically "no!" since a clean-shaven Geoff is not the Geoff she knew.

Not every man in my son's life has facial hair but most (at least on my side) do. My brother Joe has a beard, my brother Sean did have a beard (until he joined the Navy in April). My step-dad, Graham's Grandpa Mike, has a beard, too.

In recognition of this fact, my sister-in-law Mary (Joe's wife) gave Graham the Little Book of Beards (pictured above) for his first birthday with this inscription:


Happy 1st Birthday! Someday you will grow an EPIC beard!

Love, Aunt Mary + Crazy Uncle Joe"

It chronicles more than 50 styles of facial hair, like the Petite Goatee, Mutton Chops and the Captain Jack. It rates them on a five point scale of difficulty for things like Grooming and Growing and offers insights such as history of the style and instructions for growing.

The best part, is that suggests uses for those who wear the style, such as the Handlebar & Goatee (a combo!) which is suited to "Sinister 19th-century magicians and other aristocratic arch villains."

In other words, it's awesome.