It’s posted by Save the Beard in the Love for the Beard group on Facebook. Apparently there’s a beard and mustache competition in August. I hear people travel to these contests, even abroad. Interesting concept. The beard phenomenon is trending now; at the past Oscars, every other movie star wore one. Sheesh. It’s not a good time for a lukewarm beard person like myself. Even the fandom’s beardy horde continues to expand. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve nothing against beard. A well groomed small beard looks distinguished on the average man. I just think they do nothing for good-looking men, and in fact, take away a little something.
Before you start sniggering, Richard Armitage is the ONLY good looking man I’ve ever seen to be the exception to the rule. He’s got the perfect beard facial line and his square jaw and round chin make a great platform for a baby beard. (Baby as in just grown in, not teenage straggle.) So yes, I confess that the man rocks a baby beard. When it becomes too hirsute and unkempt like during the Captain America premiere, then the rule kicks back in again.
See, I can be reasonable. Some.
Here, have some pretty.
There’s a beard? Courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.com
The man knew it was wrong the moment he saw the three women, but he couldn’t help it. He’d spotted them as he left the studio, tired from a long day on the set. From the sudden intense whispering and shy smiles his way, he knew they were fans. Ordinarily, he felt pleased and a little gratified to meet fans, making small talk, scrawling autographs and posing for pictures. But this promised something more – naughty. A thrill of anticipation rushed through him as he approached.
He scanned their faces, judging who could be The One. The slight blonde, standing behind the two older women, didn’t seem a likely prospect. She smiled and eyed him in a polite detached manner, lacking the “fan” aura. She likely accompanied her friends to the studio just to observe. The youngest of the trio looked ready to burst with excitement, shoulders scrunched in tension, hands clasped in front of her tightly, and the widest smile he’d ever seen. He would have been able to see her shining eyes but she could barely look him in the eye. No, she wasn’t “it.”
As he turned to the oldest of the trio, his heart sped up. The tall brunette stood nearly eye to eye with him. She regarded him in a more subdued fashion with a crooked uncertain grin and cocked head. The eyes gave her away: they darted from his and away. Ordinarily, he’d think she was stealing sneaky glimpses of his mouth, but he knew that wasn’t it. It was the BEARD.
He reached up reflexively to touch it. This was the beard’s second stretch for his character. After four weeks, it had grown in but hadn’t reached it’s full potential. Commentators on Alia’s blog called it “the baby beard.” He smirked. When the itchiness of the growth subsided, he quite liked the surprising silkiness of it. He also liked another thing: the fans touching it. That discovery occurred when a fan had asked to touch it on a dare. He’d posed in amusement for the photo but had been secretly shocked by one thing; the frisson of tension he’d felt the second her fingers stroked his face. It was as if another part of himself had leaned forward figuratively to luxuriate in her touch. It had felt so – sensual. He hadn’t regarded himself as a particular tactile person in this touchy-feely business, so he’d been caught out by the fleeting intense surge of pleasure. Friends did not produce the same effect; the touch of a fan seemed somehow thrilling and – forbidden, yes, deliciously forbidden.
His hand’s motion quickly drew her eyes. Her top lip sucked at the bottom. Surely news of the earlier fan had gotten out; she wanted to touch his beard too. Her eyes darted back to his questioningly. His smile widened as that naughty part of him tempted her by leaning forward. She took the bait.
“Would you like to?” He leaned tantalizingly close, marveling how he could invade her personal space like this. Who was he and what was he doing?
“May I?” She didn’t seem to mind.
Her hand seemed to move in slow motion as it rose from her side. The anticipation stretched as she came closer and closer and then – just the barest, lightest touch. His eyes fluttered closed as her fingers left a trail of subtle sensation across his cheek and along the jawline. He slowly exhaled breath he’d not realized he’d been holding and he shuddered lightly. Delicious. Simply delicious. The hand fell away suddenly. His eyes opened. Good grief, had she noticed? She smiled, thanked him, and glanced in amazement at her friends. No, she’d probably remembered she’d been stroking the beard of a stranger. She’d been too enthralled in her own experience do notice his. He collected himself and posed for the group photo, pretty sure that his eyes possessed a bit more twinkle. He sent them off with a nod and smile.
He turned away, heading for his bike. Tonight, he would relive the moment over and over. Maybe Alia would write a post about it – beard stroking by strangers as pleasure. He reached the bike and stopped in his tracks. Good grief. What was fandom doing to him?
ARMITAGEWORLD (AP) There has been a continued outpouring of grief, ecstasy, apathy, and chicanery over the recent death of The Beard, age 1 1/2. Admidst the rumors and speculation surrounding The Beard’s passing, fans have been commenting on blogs, Twitter and Facebook, about their fond memories of it, or not.
Nobody knows the exact birth date of The Beard, but it made its first public appearance at the New Zealand The Hobbit press conference in March 2011 with close friend, British actor Richard Armitage. Apparently, their association at the time was tentative, as Mr. Armitage stroked his new friend and said, “yeah, this is an experiment.”
The Beard lived out its life in relative seclusion, only emerging for public events, small cameos in The Hobbit vlogs, and two photo shoots. But as one fan commented, “That Beard had a good life, attached to Richard’s face. It travelled the world, met many interesting people. It’s even rumoured to have been fondled and stroked by Richard once or twice. They’ve even showered together! We could all hope to have such a life!”
There are no services announced for The Beard at this time. Inside sources said that fans who which to commemorate The Beard’s life, can donate to the JustGiving charities in lieu of money or flowers. The Beard is survived by sisters Lashelle and Lashette; brothers, Brauw, Brow, and ‘Do; cousins, the Elsewheres; and close friend, Richard Armitage.
The Beard with close companion Richard Armitage, July 2012.
DETROIT, MI (AP). As reported earlier, The Beard, close personal friend of British actor Richard Armitage, is dead. Rumors of its demise first circulated when an extra on the set of The Beard’s untitled film disclosed that The Beard was missing. Sources later confirmed The Beard had in fact died. There has been no indication when the event occurred.
There is much speculation as to what precipitated this event. The Beard last appeared at San Diego Comic Com in July, and attendees reported it appeared healthy and lush. Sources say The Beard did not have any life threatening conditions such as alopecia and appeared quite manageable. One visitor stated it seemed prickly and probably needed conditioner, but otherwise there was no evidence The Beard might do itself harm.
The most troubling speculation is that The Beard fell victim to ritual sacrifice. Strong suspicion has fallen on the make-up department at the film studio north of Detroit, where other beards, moustaches and goatees have been known to vanish. The hirsute community is demanding an investigation into a possible hairicide, accusing the police of brushing off the disappearances. Mr. T. Soul Patch, head of the Anti-Shave Society or ASS said, “the police must act immediate or else this investigation too, will go down the drain.” Speculation has also fallen on Mr. Armitage, who is in seclusion and cannot be reached for comment.
Reaction to The Beard’s death has been mixed. The Beard was very private and revealed little until recently when it began talking on Twitter under the name RichardsBeard. Denizens described it as anywhere from “abrasive” to “tickling their funny bones.” Fans of The Beard have expressed sorrow, stating, ” Nooooooo!” Detractors of The Beard have been jubilant, saying, “it was a hairy character anyway that was all over Mr. Armitage’s face like a cheap suit.”
There’s been a veritable monsoon of all things Richard Armitage in the past few days. Last night, a group of us camped in the chat room, multiple browsers at the ready (or fingers on the recorders and screen cappers) and watched RA take his first Hollywood walk down the red carpet at the Captain America premiere in L.A.
He arrived looking dapper in a Tom Ford suit blah blah blah – let’s cut to the chase:
RA showcases the sharply dressed man. Courtesy of Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Our suit expert (Servetus) stated the suit fit him well. It’s a designer suit, it had better. Let’s have a closer look at our rising international star:
RA is amused when he's introduced as Richard Armitahge. Courtesy of Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
This is one of the best pictures because of his big smile. The suit does look expensive although the striped shirt and checkered tie tend to strobe under lights. But let’s look closer:
RA wonders if anybody knows how to pronounce his name. Courtesy Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Ah yes, those eyes are just as lovely as ever. Truly his best feature in my opinion. Oh, and look at his beard, it’s… er… it’s er…longer…fuller…almost bushier… it’s GROWN. It’s ungroomed and marching down his neck. DUDE! The Beard is getting it’s act together and going it alone. The buzz cut must be jealous.
Having resigned myself to The Beard I happened on a certain forum to get eyewitness reports from two ecstatic women (so happy for you!) and what should I read but discontent in the beardy ranks! Apparently quite a few in the beardy camp thought things were getting too wild and woolly for their tastes. They said he looked older and maybe more stodgy. Apparently more than a baby beard killed the doparmitage effect; they weren’t feeling it any more. Then I heard the same thing on Twitter.
Well, that tickled my funny bone and I got to thinking. Oh yes, wait for it! He reminded me of television character from my childhood called A Family Affair featuring a proper dapper bearded British butler played by Sebastian Cabot on the left. Or maybe it’s the one on the right:
RA would be thrilled to be mistaken for Sebastian Cabot circa 1966
Santa was probably hot as a young man. Courtesy of Kevin Payne
With distention in the ranks, I had to rethink my position The Beard. Much soulful thought later I agree that baby beard a la Recognize magazine still allowed him to look dark, hip and edgy. But if RA is growing it more, then everything changes. Chic is one thing; Grizzly Adams is another. My allowance will only go so far. I really don’t want to start thinking of him as the butler.
RA at his natural glory, lest we forget. Courtesy of richardarmitageNet.com
I don’t know how to say this. It flies in the face of better judgment. I can’t even begin to comprehend.
Most of you saw this post in which I passionately argued that a good looking man like Richard Armitage in a beard and a buzz cut was travesty. The Project magazine photo shoot that caused the whole furor shocked me with RA’s radically different appearance. Where was his hair and his face – I couldn’t see every inch. What was the joy in being a shallow fangurl if I couldn’t squee over clean-shaven floppy haired loveliness? RA’s working look harshed my squee! It was all ironic and funny. As the beard and anti-beard camps (well, us 7 against the beardy horde) squared off the post comments, I was forced to give the opposition opinion thoughtful consideration. Was my assessment a hasty knee jerk reaction? As the masses continued to swoon in virtual rapture, I couldn’t believe that was the case. As a psychology enthusiast who is fascinated by workings of the mind (hence the title of this blog, the watcher), I smugly wondered if this wasn’t a case of group behavior/mass hysteria or virtual McClintock Effect (remember women in a dorm?). Calexora theorized this was the dopamine effect. So was this a definitely a female thing and I was missing out? Still skeptical, I decided to keep an open mind.
The siege continued as the beardy photos flew around social media. Fans linked and compared their favorites. Well, I didn’t have one. But if forced to choose, I decided this one wasn’t too bad:
RA realizes they lied when they said viewing the film Sex in the City would send chills down his spine.
Then creative types hit me with this. Oh, that photo:
A beautiful desktop by HeathRa. Very British.
Ferociously wonderful desktop by BccMee
And this, uh oh that photo again:
Another lovely literary desktop by BccMee
But then there was this. It’s a Fanny’s (aka Sinjoor on Twitter) film of the one of Project magazine’s artsy iPad video. It’s sideways so cock your head to the left:
I’m can’t explain exactly what it was here but when RA unveils his head and pierces the viewer with those eyes – I was riveted. As he moves his head around like a model I have to confess he’s one handsome bastard, beard, buzz cut and all. So congratulations Fanny. After being cajoled by the beardy horde in chat, blogs and Twitter, you were the one to finally break me with a video of RA in action. I am defeated.
Before you lot start laughing and cackling in the comments, let’s be clear: I still dislike beards on good looking men and can hardly abide buzz cuts on anybody, but I’m only make an exception for one Mr. RA. This is a special case.
Unless you were comatose, on the moon or at a Harry Potter marathon, everybody in ArmitageWorld has seen The Pictures. Ironically I didn’t see them on the iPad publication but in blogs, tweets, Facebook comments and emails within 15 minutes of release. Richard Armitage has done photo shoots before but the amazing thing about these pictures is how they caused ArmitageWorld to collectively swoon. I walked over virtual bodies, so to speak, as I was summoned to the chat room for account for myself.
The problem started a few days ago when Sir Peter Jackson released his second video blog. RA appeared for a few seconds displaying a new look.
RA as himself, during The Hobbit break
Fans squeed approvingly over the buzz cut (probably short to stay cool under the wig) and clearly natural color hair. They loved his beard. Simply adored it, would crunch it between their toes and eat it with a spoon if they could. The consensus was he looked tired but happy if only a little thin and possible sun or wind burned. They described his look as real and accessible. What did I think? Well, you know me. I wryly commented he looked like an escaped convict who got sun or wind burned going over the wall. They suspiciously speculated this was not a ringing endorsement.
I knew he would have his beard for the Recognize magazine photo shoot edition due out next month. However the pictures today from Project Magazine came as a surprise. This is the first one I saw.
RA clearly misses Thorin
Many women (and apparently some fellas) exclaimed this was one of his best pictures EVAH. He had attained the epitome of manly perfection and need not do anything else to himself. My reaction was “Nah nuh!” Hence I ended up in that chat room with the nick “Anti Beard Judi” debating Beard or No Beard (also Hair or Not and Chest Hair or Not – well, you don’t want to know) for almost three hours with no less than 20 people.
RA shows how to stylishly mug in dark halls.
I asked what was it about The Beard that made them swoon and break into cold sweats. They said in a nutshell: “he looks so VIRILE, like a REAL man, not a pretty boy. He looks so RAW, and PRIMAL and SEXY! PHWOAR!” PHWOAR! wasn’t actually used, it was worse than that, but all capital words were. I was aghast. “What’s wrong with you girl?” they cried.
“But he IS a pretty boy!,” I retorted. Let’s look at some examples, shall we?
RA as a pretty boy in main publicity picture
This is his main publicity photo. It’s slightly and badly airbrushed under the eyes but that’s how he looks. He can’t help himself. Now look back at the bearded photos. You can’t see the dimple at the corner of the mouth, the dip over his lip or all of his lips, the curve of his chin or the planes of his face as it slopes downward; you only hair which obscures it all. You also don’t see how his hair curls over his forehead or gently shapes his face because it’s mostly gone, shorn like a sheep. And observe, he certainly looks like a virile real man. Tell me he’s not sexy.
RA still being pretty sans make-up.
Here he is again, sans make-up after an awards show, still not being able to help himself. There’s some stubble. He looks about to smile. You see the planes in his face. You couldn’t see that with a beard. Hair frames his face, makes you look at everything. And let’s be honest, we all love to look. Fans have gushed over these pictures and more. No matter what fans say, his looks play a significant part in the squee factor. But now we have pictures like these and fans have lost their minds.
RA suspecting the beard disguise won't work anymore either
I don’t care for the beard because it obscures his looks. Beautiful people have no need to cover their faces. Don’t get me wrong; he’s rocking the beard. His long angular face goes well with one. But he doesn’t need one (other than for his character) because it doesn’t really enhance his looks. Plus a beard with a buzz cut is too much. It’s a personal preference but I think buzz cuts make nobody look good. They make ugly men uglier and handsome men less so. They remind me of skinheads, so I guess that would be a personal bias. I think RA is too good looking for styles that can only take away.
It seems to me from that chat room, setting aside personal preferences for beards and very short hair, that many fans would prefer something that takes away. They want a beard covering his face and hair shorn to make him less of a pretty boy, the very thing that attracted many fans in the first place. It’s like many are saying “I can’t stand all this pretty; I just want him to be (extraordinarily) sexy man next door!” Am I missing something here?
Call me old-fashioned. I like a man with hair on his head, and if I’m going to spend my time eyeballing a pretty man, I want to see all the pretty.