Recently it came to my attention that the office workplace has abandoned the tie and shave everyday look and embraced the casual no shaving style. I thought who am I to fight fashion and joined the men who’ve chosen facial hair club.

Before tossing the razor, there was research to be done and decisions to be made and, as an empty-nester with a lot of free time on his hands, I jumped right in. Beards and facial hair, like the men who have them, come in all shapes and sizes.

There’s the “I Just Don’t Want To Shave Every Day.” This beard is not even close to being a beard. It’s scraggly with hairs in every direction, it may be patchy but is best described as wiry. This is grown by one of two kinds of people, either the young guy, who thinks this is a great beard or by an older guy who just flat didn’t want to shave that day. Having been both a younger guy and an older guy, I feel for both of them. The young guy just wants the chance to look older, feel more mature, while the older guy is like, “I’m so tired of dragging a razor across my face that I’m not going to anymore.”

Next is The Goatee: Is it a beard? Or is it just a mustache with something extra? How has that stayed in style for so long? I understand not wanting to shave, believe me, and not shaving even a little extra is a pleasure. I remember goatees being worn by magicians in the 70s, something of an evil, almost devilish connotation. The goatee defies style logic for its staying power and my compliments to anyone who can pull it off.

Then there is the “Over-the-Top.” You’ll often see these on major league relief pitchers, guys who have so much time on their hands that growing and manscaping an “Over-the-Top” helps alleviate the boredom. You also see it on a guy like David Letterman, who is absolutely positively done with shaving once he retires. They can also be found on guys who ride motorcycles or someone from work who plays Santa Claus at the mall every year as a side hustle.

There’s also the “Male Model Beard.” Men like Kevin Love, new Browns coach Kevin Stefanski and George Clooney grow this type. It’s the kind that no matter what it looks like, it works because, well, the guy is extremely good looking. Most of us can never, ever have this beard, so don’t bother trying.

Personally, I like to think I’m an advanced “Don’t Want to Shave” kind of guy. With proper grooming it could become an “Acceptable Beard” and one I have for a long time. More than likely, during all my free-time thinking, I’ll decide on something else and rinse it all down the drain.

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