The Infamous Beard Post

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.

He does an escaped convict quite convincingly.

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 misses Thorin

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 you can mug in style

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 pretty boy

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

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 thinks the AC is a bit high

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.

Doesn’t anybody agree with me?  Anybody?  Bueller?


All photos courtesy of

85 thoughts on “The Infamous Beard Post

  1. OK, I need to get my beard post out now, because it’s really in dialogue with what you say here. The problem is that no one in my family has seen me in two days so I’m unlikely to get free writing tomorrow. We’ll see. Meanwhile, please do go beat yourself up like Dobby!

    Just kidding, I love you even though you don’t get the beard.

    • OMG! At least the comments are still working! Sheeeesh.

      I really can’t wait to read your beardy post. I need an understanding of this phenomenon. Seriously.

      Aww, thanks! But I think Calexora threatened to boycott me when she gets back from HP. LOL!

    • Hello everyone, I’m coming out of lurkdome because if these pictures aren’t impetus enough, then nothing is.
      What else is there to say IN FAVOUR of these pictures (sorry Judi)?
      Searching for a new angle is difficult but here I go:
      I’m in Australia and Australia was settled (many would argue, invaded) by Europeans to create a place to dump the excess of convicts from Britain’s overflowing prisons. Having connections to these convict beginnings has become a badge of honour (even tre chic) in this country. So if RA indeed looks like “an escaped convict” then that is just another plus! He wins aesthetically, hormonally and sociologically.
      So that is my “new angle” offering – the “escaped convict comparison is a cultural compliment” angle. Plus I just love him looking like he is a big grown up middle aged fella with a few lines around his eyes. Seems to make my personal devotion (as a woman in her 40’s) a tiny bit more legitimate, somehow, although (yeah, I know) still quite warped.
      Now I’ll press the submit button and see where this lands.

      • Hi Beengizzied, welcome! Glad you found your way here.

        That is definitely a different approach. I had no idea I unwittingly contradicted my own opinion for those Down Under! Thanks so much for commenting and make yourself at home. 😀

    • Judi I’m with you 100%… Servertus is really going to have to go all out to convince me this look is THAT swoon-worthy 😉

      • Hi there Soaplady! Wheee, I think you’ve pushed our camp number up to 6 against the beardy masses. Good work! 😀

  2. Honestly, I don’t get it either. I can live with the beard but THE HAIR?!!! NO WAY! I’ll take Sir Guy’s curls anytime. *Do you people hear me? ANYTIME!!!!* And even Lucas’ cut, but not this. Sorry gals, but I’m in Judi’s corner on this deal. I soooo totally agree with you about sweet face hid under all the hair. No m’am. Like anyone cares tho. Like he cares? Nah. I suspect The Look is more about coolness ( as in air) and comfort rather virility and coolness ( as in fashion altho that camel coat rocks. And the scarf. And the sweater.) *fanning self* So go for it Rich. But you’d best have some of that hair grown back pronto. Or you know…errr, well I might just go see TH 10 times instead of the planned 15. Take that. 😉

    So does that make it 2 against thousands, Judi?

    • Heehee. That’s okay. We already duked it out in the chat room. Haven’t even touched on the “primal” picture yet!

  3. bccmee – hilarious! And so true. I love the beard. I appreciate your opinion, Judi, I just don’t share it. But that is what a blog is for. I love Lumberjack!

  4. Though I’m not quite the RA fan as the ladies who chatted with you earlier, I’ll stand by you with the “eh, it’s a beard” side of things. He’s an awfully good looking man, he doesn’t need a beard. As I mentioned to Judi in Twitter, beards don’t do anything for me, for most men. There are a few who look better with (Sam Waterson, for one), but most, like RA, don’t.

    (I’m quite interested to see how Sylvester McCoy will look with his wizard facial hair. Heh. I suspect it won’t be my favorite look for him. But I have a fellow fangurl who prefers Sylv with facial hair & often photoshops stubble onto pix of him.)

  5. Oh mercy. THe primal one freaked me out! I was looking over my shoulder thinking in my best Al Pacino thoughwave, Is he tawkin’ to ME?!! I wanted to scream back at him. Wait. I think I did. Someone please explain that one to me. Artsy? Unique? But I’ll admit. I loved seeing the pics. Really. I did.

    • Bccmee made a Primal Urges wallpaper. And to be honest, I like it. Must be the feral primal thing calling to me. Hmmm..

  6. I like the beard. It’s neatly trimmed and softens his face overall.

    I man, I’m not exactly a RA fan girl. Got nothing against him, of course.

    But he certainly looks nice with the chin fur.

    • Hiya Elsa! Thanks for commenting (even though you’re utterly wrong and need properly converting the next time you visit) 😉

  7. ok, i finally read it all! 😀 i also sorta agree! buzzcut with beard is a big no-no, that i will give you!! And yes, i fell for the pretty boy, i love the pretty boy 😀

  8. There is no wrong way RA for me though his pic from the Vic did very little for me. On the other hand my ovary’s don’t go into overdrive either I’m clearly not cRAzy anymore. I appreciate him stretching his looks because it can only broaden his career possibilities.

    • Ahhh, so you’re impartial because you’re more in the middle of the fan spectrum like me, or you can take or leave any looks he adopts?

  9. Okay I will counter with my soft spot for buzz cuts & confess to an urge of stroking over those stubbles on his scalp. Due to his hairline it may make him look severe but I’m sure his personality would counter that. Judy I think to cure your buzz bias you need to meet my little boy who’s sporting one right now 🙂 it makes him look like a little Buddha when he’s more of a monkey 😉
    I have no doubt his hair will grow again & I hadn’t paid attention that his hair was brown!

    • No doubt you’re little boy is cute as a button. 🙂
      But for RA, running my fingers through his longer hair seems more appealing. Mmmm…

      • I filmed that button stating he was going to start a Lady Gaga fan club in school & mounted a whole argument she versus Michael Jackson (his bigger brother is a fan)

        there is no contest to Guy hair ..

  10. Well I’m back from HP and I still can’t believe you all that say you don’t like the beard and/or the buzz cut. I think this is his most sexy, earth-shattering look EVER!!! And it’s funny Judiang that you posted two pictures of him sans beard that I’ve actually never liked! NEVER. Especially the second one. I actually think he’s not very attractive at all in that one and if that’s all I’d have to go by, I might not be a crazy fangurll. So your ‘argument’ for pretty boy, just further convinced me of why I ADORE him with beard, and I reallly love him too with the buzz cut. There are lots of looks I like – I did like John Porter, S8-9 Lucas, a bit of S2 GoG but this look now, as Real Richard I adore. I think the beard actually frames and anchors his strong features. And yes, for me he’s definitely more virile, sexy, gorgeous this way. And to think…this all out gorgeousness comes with a sweet personality, intelligence and talent. My dream come true!
    And by the way, glad to see the final instalment of HP but much more looking forward to TH. And several times during HP I was thinking of Richard and his beard…. 😀

    • Well, I guess you are truly a beard/buzz cut gal. You want to pretty-down the man, I get it. 😉
      Seriously, I could live with the beard (wouldn’t kick him out of bed you understand) but that AND the shearing? He needs a bit more crowning glory, surely you can see that?

      • In a weird way his hair looks fuller short like this than when it’s long and the wind blows through it exposing some scalp… 😀 I really do like him in this look. What can I say?

        • That is true about his longer hair since it’s so fine textured I suppose. Yes, I really getting the picture. Now we know what look to set you up for on blind dates. 😀

  11. I love the beard but as you say, he doesn’t need it and looks beautiful without it. But it’s a nice change.

  12. I get your point, and I have been there my self. But maybe for another reason 😉
    The first time RA appeared with a beard (at the hobbit press conference) I really saw my dad. Okay he is not so good looking (and not 40 years old), but it was his beard. Nice , but NOT hot. BUT come on, those pictures. *DROOL*, *SWOON* . I like him best without the beard too, but I LOOOOOOVVVVEEEE those pictures.

    • Okay, I’m taking this as an endorsement with a caveat that RA is simply hot no matter the beard. I’ll buy that. 🙂

  13. Hi Judi,

    I’ve come out of RA blogging hiatus in support of you. I’m not that fond of the beard or the shorter hair. These pictures don’t make me swoon in the least, but maybe I am just too wrapped up in The Hobbit news to be as keen as I was….. or is it just because I’ve never liked “model” type camera poses? I’d much rather see an RA character in action.

    Calexora just posted a video interview with RA talking about his Captain America role – he is clean cut with slightly longer hair and looks way younger.

    Now Lucas North, Series 7 (was it Ep 5?) in that suit really did make me take a second look. Same with a few of the John Porter shots. 🙂

    Add me to the minority 🙂

    • Oh thank you, thank you for the unqualified endorsement. You’re clearly a woman of thoughtful and particularly discerning tastes. 😀

      So that er… FOUR of us against the beard-lusting masses! 😀

  14. I loved the pics, they show crinkles, a virile and sexy man and they’re HD! = I swooned. I can’t agree that this is his best look ever though.

    I love the beard, I truly were left breathless when I saw the pics of the press conference, both his hair and beard where longer and black which I *really* like. If anything I think he looks best with stubble, Lucas S7 or Sir Guy S2 hair length and with some color in his cheeks (his skin color of the second half of RH seasons or SB).

    Looks-wise I’m in the middle but I’m happy to join the swooning beard or no beard.

    OML 🙂

  15. I agree with you, he does not need the beard! I like and am impressed by the pictures and his angry looks, but wait for him to come back without a beard. I hope we do not have to wait two years till the end of “The Hobbitt” shoot, but I fear we might have to.
    And I must add, he is the only (!) man I even consider being attractive with a beard.

    • Exactly, he’s good looking enough to rock any look, but why cover perfection? Thank you!

      Welcome 5th member against the horde. 😀

      (If you all stand tightly around me, I’ll be completely safe!)

  16. I really enjoyed reading this post (the photos’ subtitles! :-)). I do think he is wearing the beard quite well but I definitely find the buzz cut looks a bit strange. Didn’t you call it an “escaped convict” look? A fitting expression (but then convicts can look good as well, can’t they 😉 ).
    Especially after seeing Ali’s screencaps from the CA interview released today I have to admit I think RA looks really good without a beard but all in all “beard or beardless?” is not that important to me. I think a lot of yesterday’s emotional upheaval was caused by the fact that we finally got a whole press article complete with (unusual) photos that concentrates on RA alone (no PJ, Martin Freeman, other dwarves etc.).
    A good opportunity for lots of swooning, squeeing, chatting and tweeting – in short: it was great, good-natured fun and I enjoyed it.

    During the chat somebody mentioned how completely different RA manages to look in his various roles. Recalling Lucas North, Heinz Kruger and Thorin (of whom we are definitely catching more than a glimpse in the beardy photos) I think that is definitely true. Watching these photos I felt very much reminded of Viggo Mortensen – another actor I very much appreciate. RA and VM don’t look alike but VM also manages to convey a completely different persona in each of his roles and after all that is what distinguishes a really good actor.

    P.S. Looking forward to Servetus’ “beardy post” 😉

  17. Good post, Judiang! Nothing like stirring it! And great comments, too. I admit to liking beards – depending on the man, and really like RA with it. (Also love stubble, too). Ordinarily, buzz cuts are somewhat repellant, but here, it throws the bone structure – cheekbones nose, and the eyes into relief. (Even though it does obscure chin and mouth) It is a different look for him and emphasizes the very stern expressions for this photo shoot. Love everyone’s reactions! However, I’m NOT a fan of pretty boy looks, so these photos have my seal of approval (as though he or anyone else cared! 😀 ) Great debate!

    • Well Fitzy, “somebody” has to stir things up and Frenzy had been slacking lately. 😉

      So you like beards (especially on RA) but hate buzz cuts (except on RA). There seems to be a consensus here that aside from those who simply love beards and very short cuts, both are acceptable only here because they are on RA. I can understand that. The man can’t help being sexy. 😀

  18. What else can I say?
    I love these pictures, they made me scream and giggle like a silly schoolgirl. RA is indeed rocking the beard, very impressive.
    Is this my favourite look for him? Maybe… (let me think about that one a while longer) Favourite looks until now are S7 Lucas North, S3 RH and John Porter as ‘John Dean’ in ep 2 of Strike Back.
    Oh, and don’t get me started on John Thornton *sigh* 🙂

    • Hiya IngeD3! They certainly have gotten hearts pounding here. So, Guy didn’t do it for you? Aww. (Do I need commence bringing you to The Dark Knight’s Side? Ah, a fangurl’s work is never done.)

  19. Still in Not-like-the-beard-mood Judi? *lol*
    Thanks for your great post!
    I have to admit that I am not a beardlover myself, but on RA it looks good and these pics have blown me away yesterday….
    I like his look, the clothes and all what the pics exude…..sorry, can’t express it better in english *sigh*

    • Hi there, welcome! I think you did a fine job expressing yourself. I’ll mark you down for the beardy camp. Sigh. 😉

  20. I totally agree with you! And I’m so happy that at least I’m not the only one who doesn’t like the beard!! When I look at those photographs my thoughts are a) with the beard he looks about 10 years older, b) that haircut is so unbecoming and c) how fortunate that I have so many LN, JP and JT pictures to look at.

    • Hello countess, welcome! Ah, another woman of very discriminating taste! That makes SIX of us against the masses. I– oh no, I hear PV has defected on Twitter! Nooooo!

  21. JT!!! now you’re tawkin’! I don’t “hate” this new look, for after all, time marches on. ahem and ask me how I know. Just a bit more hair on top please?! He certainly has the smoulder thing down pat tho doesn’t he?! SO what’s the score now Judi? My calculator’s missing….

    • Well, we did have 6 but PV defected, alas, so it’s back to 5. But then again all the 1/2 votes against the buzz cut creates more people, right?

  22. He looks too much like a choir boy (with an emphasis on boy) to me when he’s clean shaven. I like facial hair…I even liked his soul patch in “The Impressionists,” but JUST the soul patch and not the whatever-it-was later. I wasn’t completely sold on the press conference beard, but this well-groomed one? Oh my yes.

    • Choir boy! I can’t think of any photos where RA looked angelic, he always has that mischievous gleam in his eyes. It’s a good thing you qualified the soul patch because liking that squirrelly thing would have required intervention. 😉

        • “Soul patch”!!! Bwahaha! Yep, the squirrel thingy would indeed call for intervention. Big time. The gleam….new topic?!!!

  23. Count me as one who loves the beard and short hair. It totally changes the arcitecture of his face and technically you may be right, that a look with more hair and without the beard is more flattering, but what an effect it has!

  24. “The architecture of the face” is such an apt description. The cropped hair simply emphasizes the structure. It’s a unique face, with so many contrasting elements, invaluable to a screen actor. Fortunately, for the stage, there is also the voice and body language. Too many gifts? Blessed indeed.

    And an engaging post, Judiang – do stir the pot anytime! 😀

    • It adds new lines to his face that are very defined. His hairline is receding at the temples (perfectly normal) in an interesting curve that looks very distinctive and makes the forehead more prominent.

      • I hadn’t noticed that before, you’re right. Don’t you think he has one of those faces that will age quite well? His looks aren’t dependent on the youthfulness that disappears in the early 40s.

  25. I’m with you 100%, Judi. I miss seeing all of his face–and, yikes, that hair. Well, he looks tough and, to me, kind of dangerous with a mean streak, so I suppose that goes well with the character of Thorin. And you can’t see his lips–and I really like seeing his lips.

    • Hi Rachaele, welcome! Yes, his face, lips, I want to see it ALL. Thanks for joining my camp. That makes SEVEN against the beardy horde. 😀

      • Agent NB will be checking out and leaving you on your/our minority own. Slowly but surely we may make a few conversions from the Hairy Hoardes. Good luck and may the force be with you.

        PS I’ll be sneaking in to see how the numbers are adding up!

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  27. Pingback: Armitage barbatus, or: beard as costume, part 1 « Me + Richard Armitage

  28. Late to the party, but I am against the beard. It covers up too much. Also agree on the crew cut not being great. In my opinion, men with strong features, (prominent nose, cheekbones,) need some hair volume to sort of balance things out.

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