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Dear Hollywood actors, shave off your beards!
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By Andrea Peyser
March 9, 2015

Dear Hollywood actors, shave off your beards!

I had a crazy nightmare. In it, sexy Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey was trying to sell me a Lincoln Navigator as his flowing facial hair flapped in my face. As my mind swam toward alertness, I realized with a sense of horror that the nighttime drama was real.

The quirky actor, 45, a TV pitchman for Lincoln motor vehicles, has lately let his face become overtaken by flamboyant follicles. Some observers of male beefcake think that beards such as McConaughey’s make men look masculine.

I think that they make guys look like terrorists.

Everywhere these days, from Hollywood red carpets to the hipster-heavy hangouts of New York City, men are letting their facial hair flow as promiscuously as the intimate favors of Duke University porn star Belle Knox.

Beards. Some see them as expressions of virility. I see them as the property of the Amish. (Apologies to the many fine Amish men whose rejection of technology and electric shavers is well documented.)

But what’s Bradley Cooper’s excuse for turning his face into a recruitment poster for a prison break?

The 40-year-old superstar showed up in Los Angeles last month to lose the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the flick “American Sniper” while brandishing several days’ hair growth around his chin — prompting my husband and me to shout at the TV in unison, “Couldn’t you shave?’’

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, 40. is sporting gnarly underbrush above his neck that goes nicely with his new Santa Claus belly.

It’s not just American men who give off mountain-man vibes. British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, 37, star of the 2013 movie “12 Years a Slave,’’ lately looks as if a gerbil is taking a nap below his nose.

Don’t be fooled, guys. A beard makes a man’s face look dirtier, not thinner.

Whether it’s a silly soul patch, a mischievous goatee, a slick Van Dyke or the luxuriant locks of a cast member of the TV reality show “Duck Dynasty,’’ beards have become a thing.

Men seem to use them to stick their middle fingers at shaven authority. A beard says, “I’m too important to care if my kisses burn you in sensitive places.’’

Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant, among other 19th-century presidents, wore beards proudly. But as the decades came and went, so did leaders’ facial hair. President John F. Kennedy didn’t go out bearing as much as a five o’clock shadow. Ronald Reagan’s face was devoid of whiskers when he acted in Hollywood and after he left for the California governor’s mansion and the White House. President Obama, 53, is meticulously clean-shaven. When Bill de Blasio, 53, ran for mayor of New York in 2013, he wisely whacked off his scruffy beard, and he won the race.

I miss the days of smooth-jawed screen studs Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper. If guys are trying to look macho, they’re only succeeding in looking homeless.

“They look like farmers or Hells Angels, no offense to farmers or Hells Angels,’’ celebrity stylist Oksana Pidhorekyj, who dresses TV performers, told me. “I see these attractive men with overgrown beards and I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’ ’’

Beard-haters like me make exceptions for Hasidim and other Orthodox Jews, whose beards are expressions of faith.

Some actors have gone the other way, at least for roles. Jared Leto, 43, who won an Oscar for his supporting role in “Dallas Buyers Club,’’ endured a shave of his messy beard and had the lanky hair on his head cut short — and bleached blond — to play The Joker in the coming movie “Suicide Squad.’’ And British actor Andrew Lincoln, 41, who grew a bushy beard to play Rick Grimes in “The Walking Dead,’’ shaved his face on camera, drawing attention to his piercing blue eyes. It was exciting to watch.

Now, don’t get me started on mustaches. Yuck.

©2007-2024 Andrea Peyser and; No Reuse without permission.
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