What your beard says about you.
In most parts of the country, the beard is relegated to farcical status, worn only for Halloween or in support of Canadian sporting events. In Montana, however, follicles still range free, flowing from the cheeks and chins of manly men (and, to be fair, manly women) who desire, nay, demand the utility provided by our stalwart face-manes.
This holds especially true in the fall, when cooler weather and hunting season combine to bring out the inner mountain-man buried deep inside even the most metrosexual of Montanans. Chopping firewood in a flannel shirt, while a deer carcass hangs in the garage, just doesn’t seem right without a scraggly layer of scruff coating one’s chin.
But all beards are not created equal, and there are regional subtleties beyond the comprehension of even the strictest pogonologist (beard scientist… seriously). Here’s what your facial hair says about you in Montana.
Stubble—A Bozeman staple, worn by nearly every pubescent male in town besides cell-phone kiosk attendants, frat boys, and tourists. Full-face stubble says, “I’m rugged, and I just don’t give a damn!” without crossing into nebulous, hard-to-read full-beard territory. Neck stubble, however, denotes sheer laziness and a high tolerance for skin irritation.
Moustache Only—Wearing a moustache can mean one of three things: You’re a cop, you’re Tom Selleck/Burt Reynolds (for all practical purposes, they’re the same person), or you just think you’re too cool to wear a full beard. In the case of the latter, I submit a call for a moustache v. beard throwdown in the alley behind Heeb’s to settle this once and for all.
Full Beard—Otherwise known as a “Kaczynski,” this is a downward flowing beard with integrated moustache. Often seen protruding from a tipped-down five-gallon hat, it symbolizes independence (aka perennial bachelorhood), REI membership (if trimmed), probable firearm ownership (if untrimmed), and/or a penchant for truncatin’ gerunds.
Soul Patch—A tiny little patch of fuzz displayed below the bottom lip and above the chin. Made popular by African-American jazz men of the 1920s and ‘30s, today it’s worn by privileged white hipsters with blocky eyeglasses, fixed-gear bicycles, and organic cotton t-shirts covered in clichéd neo-profound statements like “You are the solution…”
Beardsicle—A seasonal beard that only appears on deep powder days, the beardsicle is an impenetrable shell of snow-turned-ice suspended firmly in facial hair. It is a temporary badge of honor and Bozeman’s most coveted type of beard despite serious choking and frostbite hazards.