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What’s with Beard Phenomenon – Traversing the thick and thin

What’s with the beard phenomenon? Why are they in fashion? What do they all mean?



So what’s with all the beards? Seriously they are everywhere. It seems every dude is either trying to grow a beard or has accomplished the honored endeavor. Beards and flannels, beards and suspenders, beards and skinny jeans, beards and gym shorts, beards and the Red Sox, beard pandemonium is here. Don’t get me wrong I love a good beard, it makes even the most frivolous of men appear more rugged, primitive, and well titillating.

With No Shave November quickly approaching it only seems appropriate to dive in to the nitty gritty science and history behind them. Side note to the beard connoisseurs out there; this is a brief lowdown on beards the actually history and science could fill a book, for real—it does. If you feel inclined I highly recommend, “One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair,” by Allen Peterkin.

Tim Sparks for the PULP

Tim Sparks for the PULP

Science of Your Face

Not only are beards lovely to gaze upon it turns out that they also have a number of benefits too. Beards eliminate the need to shave and the cost of razors, they help protect your face from harmful UV rays, unlike the hair on your head facial hair will stick with you through thick and thin, and they signal sexual maturity—ya baby. Another HUGE benefit for beard wayfarers is that they are viewed as more masculine, virile, wise, and to have higher class status. Boom. Unfortunately this does not necessarily improve a fellow’s level of hunk.

Lamentably the science regarding “beard attractiveness” is mixed some reports conjecture that women like bearded men more while other reports suggests the opposite. In many studies women rated beards as follows: men without beards were rated as least attractive (think modern politicians and presidents), next men with full beards (think yeti) and most attractive the trimmed beard aka stubble (think Ryan Gosling or George Clooney).

Because of their masculine nature beards can be somewhat intimidating to women, but on the flip side no beard equals femininity. Therefor the stubble beard is most enticing to women – it’s the cream between an Oreo cookie. Random tidbit men also rated the allure of beards and surprisingly or maybe not so much, they thought full beards were most enticing.

Women’s attraction to beards is not news—Charles Darwin first hypothesized women’s appeal to beards in 1871 when he published his book, “The Descent of Man.” Scientists today agree with Darwin however due to the highly individualized nature of sexual selection it’s nearly impossible to prove.

Darwin while studying animal behavior believed that any male species capable of growing a beard did so as part of sexual selection. Ya you heard that right gentlemen, beards are preferential in sexual selection, but don’t get too excited they also imply the ability to contribute to child rearing e.g. you make women want to have babies and make families with ya.

Other than rating the attractiveness of beards very little in the way of science has been dedicated to the topic. This was especially true while trying to discover why some men have red in their beard, but not anywhere else. Pilfering through research alluded to only one scientific snippet that made sense. So here it goes, the trait for red hair is carried on Chromosome 4 which has two copies, if both your copies carry the red hair recessive trait you are red ALL over, however if you carry only one of the recessive copies then you either have brown, blond, reddish-blonde, reddish-brown hair on your head or in your beard. This explains why some men have blonde/brown hair and a partial or full red beard.

Sadly, there are men out there who simply can’t produce a smashing beard. Men of Asian, Native American, and South American descent have a much harder time growing a beard, there is no scientific conclusion as to why this is, other than plain old genes or a lack of the almighty testosterone. That said some scientists hypothesize that the lack of beards in these cultures is due to evolution (living in warm, moist areas all year long negates the need for large amounts of facial or body hair).

The World According to Beards

The history of the beard is well long and a bit hairy (pun intended). Pogonotrophy, the grooming of facial hair has been around since pretty much forever. In one scenario, prior to shears or razors, the men resorted to sea shells. The scenario proceeds as follows; grab facial hair with sea shells, press seashells firmly together and last, yank. While this may provide optimal results it still makes even the most tenacious dude cringe.

Investigating beard history is dizzying because the trends permutate through time and cultures. Wisdom, sexual prowess, elevated social status, barbarism, whack jobs, devil worshipping these all are associated with beards at one point in time or another.

The original Greek and Roman word barbarian literally means, “the bearded ones.” Paradoxically philosophers have consistently adorned themselves with lengthy and/or robust beards to signify their wisdom and intelligence.

Viking beards were feared across Europe and Asia during the late eighth to middle eleventh centuries a physical byproduct of their brutal and merciless ruling. Random fact: Vikings’ penchant for hygiene surpassed other cultures of their time.

Slave owners preserved their high status by requiring their slaves to wear beard styles opposite to what was in vogue. Sort of an enigma considering slave owners must have supplied grooming tools to ensure their elevated status. Queen Elizabeth I procured monies by imposing taxes on beard goers during her reign (no wonder she always looked decadent and fantastically regal).

Men of the church often followed suit with the prevailing trend, their bearded or beardless face confirmed their celibate state. Islam forbids Muslim men from trimming their beards, although trimming the mustache is allowed. Orthodox Jews allow shears including electronic trimmers however razors are verboten. Another popular religion signaled by the beard is the Amish who grow a beard after becoming married, but not a mustache because of its military association.

Red, White and Bearded

America has experienced its fair share of beard fads. During the mid eighteenth century men maintained a planate, or smooth, face. None of the founding fathers wore a beard when they developed the U.S. Constitution in 1787. For some reason at this time men were more concerned with the wigs atop their heads than the hair on their face. During the Revolutionary War while smooth faces were still very much in style, many soldiers appeared scruffy, more than likely because of exhaustion, lack of time, and scarcity of grooming necessities.

Jump a century later during the Civil War and the Antebellum period where men wore beards and wore them exceptionally well. The styles of beards during the Civil War were nothing short of awe-inspiring, seriously there were some crazy beards. Some historians propose beards became fashionable at this time as a way for the fellows to clearly designate their masculinity during a time when women were making considerable strides in equality. Side note: I think many a lady would swoon if men today adopted the same flair, grandeur, polish, and refinement of the Civil War beard.

Speaking of tantalizing beards from the Civil War I would be remiss to not mention the distinguished Abe Lincoln beard. Did you know that he didn’t grow a beard until the latter part of his presidential campaign? He only sported a beard upon the request of a little girl who insisted he’d win more votes if he grew a beard to hide his sunken cheeks and odd face, that’s like fall without pumpkin spice everything – disheartening. Interesting tidbit: Abe’s beard is not only famous, but downright ubiquitous in American culture, pick up a penny or grab a five dollar bill to behold this prodigious bearded chap.

In World War I beards became a thing of the past for military men. Chemical warfare necessitated gas masks which in turn required men to shave to achieve a good seal. This still holds true today as well for any position including police officers or pilots who need to wear masks in emergency situations.

The Roaring Twenties through the 1950s pretty much stuck to the clean shaven, baby face look. The 1920s produced some sort of remnant of a mustache occasionally, but little else. A barber shop boom ensued in order to maintain a velvety, neat, straight, not a hair out of place appearance.

Surprisingly this look persevered through the Great Depression. Those who were able to maintain the barber shop regime represented the upper echelon of American society while the down and outers made do with what they had. Continuing through the 1940s and 50s the super clean and oh so fresh look only began to dissipate with the encroaching cultural turmoil of the 1960s.

In case you were wondering the last president to wear a beard was Taft who served from 1909-1913 and the last vice-president was Charles Curtis who served from 1929-1933, since then no president or vice-president has adorned themselves with a beard. This is just another anomaly given that beards most often indicate wisdom and high status.  

The cultural shift of the 1960s “make love not war” man reintroduced groovy, funky, and totally rad beards. It became a physical characteristic that signaled rebellion, mainly against the government. This craze continued through the 70s and 80s defining the, “Hippie Era.” Beards lost their iconoclastic image as civil unrest settled thanks to the Civil Rights Act and the end of both the Vietnam and Cold War.

The 1990s gave birth to the two day shadow (a favorite among the ladies), the goatee, soul patch, sideburns, and sharp jawlines (which works only if you have a jawline gentlemen). From 2000-2010 beards had started to grow in popularity.

Today beards like full on beards are everywhere and if it’s not a full beard then it’s a trimmed full beard. Ya, an article in GQ even named the different full beard lengths. One possible reason for the omnipresent beard today may be due to a type of revolt against an increasing metrosexual society. Others hypothesize that it’s a throwback to an idealistic, simpler life when technology was nothing more than an illusion. It’s hard to say why the beard is, “so in” right now. I’m sure that years down the road some historian will postulate a grandiose theory, but until then, long live the beard!

by Genevieve Ackley


Special thank to Tim Sparks. Tim Sparks if a filmmaker living in Denver but originally from Pueblo. More of his work can be found at Deep Field Cinema

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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet




Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.

Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.

Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.

Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.

All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days



There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

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Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter



WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

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