Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast. My name is Sam.
And today we’re asking what’s the craic about beards and mustaches. Oh, dear! Okay, so we’re gonna describe our own faces, yes, our own – any facial hair we may or may not have.. We’re going to talk about what a beard and mustache is.
And some vocabulary therein. We will discuss famous people with beards, iconic facial hair. We’ll talk about losing hair and all kinds of things that a poor man might have, problems therein. The benefits of a beard, a good beard. Something called Movember will be discussed. Maybe you know about it Mike.
Good, good, we’ll talk about that. Some of our listeners may have not heard of it, so we’ll share that with them. Any beard products we use and so and so forth, and recommendations for this. So, Mike, do you want to take the lead and grill me on this topic?
Oh yeah, sure, I mean, beards, and, you know, they come in all shapes and hair. I’m more about hairstyle more than beards, I must admit. I’m a little bit negligent of my beard. But usually I’ll have a little bit of a beard, a slight little one, just to look a little bit older and a little bit more authoritative. So…
Yeah, it’s all about scaring other people, right?
Would you describe our faces?
My face.. Actually, I shaved my beard last week, yeah, I took a professional…
Didn’t plan ahead for the podcast.
Well, it was before the issue of beards was raised actually.
Too late, that’s right, it’s too late. I took it all with a professional hair clipper called Wow, it’s famous…
Yeah, I’ve heard of them.
It’s an American brand. Basically I took it down to number zero and zzzz-s all the way through. Did it in front of my mirror.
Yeah. Good stuff, okay. So, nothing wrong. Is it a shame? I don’t think so. We’ll talk a little bit about that later, so. Well, how would you describe your face shape?
My shape is a little bit… It’s a little bit like a teddy bear, it has a slightly bit of a squareness to it.
Be still your beating hearts ladies. Teddy bear face.
I know, it’s like a round shape, there’s a slight bit of squareness to it. A little bit broad. And for people who have a slight bit of double chin, so it’s slight bit of fat underneath the chin. It’s actually good to have a small beard around that area. It masks the double chin.
We’ll get to benefits, but you’ve already mentioned one. It’s very efficient.
And I think, and you correct me if I’m wrong, I think my head is kind of oval shape.
You’re definitely an egg, you’re definitely the form of an egg.
It’s an egg-o shape, yes.
If you’ve never met me or saw me, I have a sunroof.
I mean I have… I’m bold on top.
Oh, okay, I see. You reflect light.
I used to hang about with older men, we used to be good friends and do stuff together. And actually we used to give away leaflets, Bible leaflets in Ireland. They were bold and I used to make fun of them, in a light-hearted way, you know, as friends. But now…
Is boldness something that’s very common in Northern Ireland?
I haven’t surveyed it. My grandfather, my mom’s head was bold.
I mean, you could kinda say that about people in Novosibirsk…
Honestly, don’t know. I honestly don’t know. I don’t.. I haven’t noticed any difference as far as, you know , I haven’t noticed a huge difference that more people there are bold. I don’t think that’s the case.
You know what I see less of these days? In the younger generation? I mean, they have the beards, because the hipster generation has come back, and the beards have come back.
But mustaches… I don’t actually see much mustaches.
Right. Could that be that it’s a difficult thing to grow?
Perhaps. Maybe it’s in the way of eating.
Or… Yeah, maybe you get your cheese sandwich stuck in it or egg… A bit of egg and onion sandwich.. It’d put you off I think.
Could be mayonnaise on it, I don’t know.
My eyebrows are actually quite thick. Yeah, so, they’re quite thick and they accentuate my eyes, they say. But I don’t know if that’s true or not.
Mine can be bushy. And occasionally I have to trim them.
I can see that… I can actually see…
But there is a… They are kind of sometimes wiry.
I can see that you’ve been trimming them.
It’s just when they get long and wiry in places.
Oh, I see, I see. I mean, for your information… You know, I don’t wear glasses normally, only in front of computers, playing games. That’s when I would wear glasses, but aside from that I don’t wear glasses. I’ve never seen you in glasses.
I do have glasses, I occasionally wear them, but not often, not every day, but I do wear them occasionally. And as far as beard and mustache, I have a little bit of growth present. My wife is keen on that, a little bit of stubble and little bit of growth , that’s what I have.
I’ve been… I spent a little bit of time growing it to the moment, so it’s there. It’s quite small and thin. Or thin anyway, but I have some facial hair. You have too, a little bit.
Oh yeah, it grows quick for me. Facial hair grows very very quickly for me. So I gotta keep it in check. Either that or two things – I always shave a little bit every morning, keep it up to date.
Either that, or just let it go. You know what I mean, And if you let it go, even for a couple of weeks, it turns into a mini-beard and from that point it gets longer and longer until…
Until it starts to suck in people and cars.
It’s a strange thing. My beard actually, once it grows long enough, it’ll start turning red.
Yeah. I always wonder what that is. Something in genes, you know.
Actually, I have a friend, the same. And I was gonna ask about that. Is it right? I guess it’s kind of my humor, right is the man with a ginger beard, you know. My friend has blond hair, you’ve black hair. But you might grow like a ginger beard or a red beard anyway. It’s a little bit of red, is it? Not ginger?
It’s not completely red like Scottish red. But it’s definitely red enough that when you see it, you’re like ‘wow, this is red’. You notice it. So, I mean, I think we should probably tell our audience from Novosibirsk, why we consider ginger funny. Why? Why we associate…
Well, I haven’t discussed it with you yet, but there is a kind of joke that ginger people have no soul.
Sacrificed. Yeah, soulless gingers.
I don’t subscribe to it, but I mean I have a cousin who is ginger, but.. And so it’s possible, in my family there is a gene, a ginger-gene if you like. And I guess it’s called… Anywhere in the world I mean, but I guess in Ireland, Northern Ireland it’s probably more common, right? That kind of Celtic genes.
Do you still… What’s it called… Do you still make jokes with that? With ginger thing? Because in Australia that would be so politically incorrect. We cannot actually make those jokes anymore.
If I’m talking to friends, if I’m talking to family, anything goes. I mean, as long as you know your audience, you’re not speaking to a wide audience…
We used to call them children of the Devil. Demons born, basically. You can’t say those kind of things anymore in our culture.
Do you feel bad then that you have a…
Actually, I’m okay with it.
I’m okay with it, you know. I’ve been surrounded by red-haired people all my life, so. I’m okay with it. Okay, yeah, so how long have you had a beard and, you know… Before even talking about the beards, right, let’s talk about some words, right, that are connected to beards and other facial hair. What other forms of facial hair are there?
I have thought about this in preparation. And you’ll help me along, but goatee.
A goatee. You have that word in Australia?
So it’s a little… It looks like a little goatee beard, that a goat would have, and it’s just a little bit under your chin that goes straight down. Fuzz is another word that I found, but I think it’s probably not a good beard if you’ve got fuzz.
Stubble is what I have at the moment. I guess you have too. It’s a fine… It’s not so thick beard, it’s not quite there.
Facial hair. Five o’clock shadow, can you explain that?
Five o’clock shadow. I’ve heard of this term before, right…
It’s when a guy has shaved in the morning, but he’s got those good genes and his beard is growing, you know. You know, he’s got that rough looking look that he hasn’t shaved all day. It looks like he hasn’t shaved for a day, but in reality, you know, he’s just… He shaved this morning and it’s grown back.
And that’s what’s called a five o’clock shadow. Because at five o’clock it turns into a… Right.
That’s it, that’s the idea. Designer stubble. I don’t know if I respect this. I’m gonna be honest. I think if a man has to go so far as to design his beard – it depends on a beard I guess, but if he’s designed a stubble, to me he’s trying too hard.
Stubble. It’s this little, fine fine, very short hairs. That, you know, haven’t grown out as a beard yet. But design… It’s like design, you know, it’s fashioned and shaped.
Ah, you know what? I was at a barber around three weeks ago, I think he was trying to do exactly that in my beard and I said no no no, I don’t need that with a beard. He was trying to teach me that if you shave it like this and you shape it like this you’re gonna have an awesome devilish beard. And I said I don’t wanna look like a devil. Right?
And plus I think it’s trying too hard.
I think it’s just a little bit too contrived. It felt.
Exactly. For me… I know guys will do that, but for me he tries too hard, and it’s… It just doesn’t look right, you know.
Sitting too perfectly, that’s not a guy to me. Well, it’s a guy, but it’s not my style.
A beard is so… Because you know humans look each other in the eyes, beard is quite close to that, so it looks too contrived, it looks double contrived.
It’s gotta be a bit rough.
That’s right. Gotta have a natural asymmetry.
Whiskers? And interestingly… It goes with mustache, right, you get whickers. I’ve seen a guy last week with these big, long, you know…
Yeah, I don’t know if curled or straight out maybe, but yeah. And interestingly, if I’m correct, the word in Russian for mustache is whickers. It translates as whiskers as well.
Yeah. If I’m correct. People will right if I’m wrong. But as I know, усы, I think. People will correct me if I’m wrong. Sideburns is another one, bristles, a full beard of course. Mutton chops. Have you heard of mutton chops?
Big thick sideburns coming down from your head. Coming down from your ear and then going out towards your… onto your cheeks and everything.
Mostly English bareknuckle boxers.
Yeah, the bareknuckle fighters.
Yeah, exactly, it was very popular in 1800s and stuff.
I used to see like sketchings of bareknuckle fighters who have mutton chops, you know, beating each other to half death.
Yeah, that’s we do in the UK.
A Van Dyke, you know what that is?
It’s a mustache and goatee. It’s like Robert Downey Jr has I think something like that. And I’ve come up with ha few ideas of my own, you can tell me what you think. A beard could be called face garnish. Do you like it?
I mean, it’s a garnish for your face.
Add a bit of flavor to your face.
A man garden. If you get, you know, your man garden and them some men try to put things in there or shape it somewhere.
It is technically a man garden.
Weather shield. Cause you come in a Siberia or Russia or whatever and you get this weather shield.
I think, honestly, I haven’t felt the effect. I had a little bit of a beard and I didn’t feel it was protecting me against the harsh winds here to be honest. A face mask does that.
Okay. A stash as well, which is short for mustache.
Yeah. And how long have you had a beard? Why did you do it? I do it because I’m lazy. How about you?
Not really… I mean, I’ve got the stubble there. Mustache stubble and beard and all, and if I grew it longer, it would be a full beard. But I don’t… I would say that I’m not bearded at the moment. I keep shaving it and growing it and shaving it and growing it. So I’ve got more like stubble, not designer, but when I was younger, I really tried to grow a beard.
And I did for a while, but some people were like ‘that doesn’t look right for you’, people that had known me for a long time, my mom, other people found it strange to suddenly see me with this facial hair.
Now, I gotta ask this question. And it’s in between, it’s kinda like a virginity question. At what age did you have your first beard?
That is a good question. I can’t tell you, but I can remember growing when I was 23, trying to grow it. Not being a successful as I would’ve liked to be honest. Getting some growths, but there were areas that were patchy. And I was…
At what age did you achieve a nice bush?
Well to be honest, I haven’t been dedicated enough to it, to keep it for long enough to have a bush I would say. Cause I haven’t had, I haven’t grown it out for years.
So, you know, full beard or anything, I haven’t done that for years. I guess when I was a few years ago, maybe 6-7 years ago I would have had the longest beard, but it was still a little bit patchy on cheeks and mustache. Not if I grew it I think I would get much better results. It’s a kind of a thing of shame if a man, even a young man can’t grow a full beard, you know. But now I think I would have success.
And you know, there’s growing a beard, does it add value to your face when you start to lose the hair on the top?
Well, so, I have that issue. I don’t wanna say a problem, it’s not a problem. I have that, maybe style. Whether with or without choice, I have short sparse on the top. I’m growing taller than my hair you see.
And so for me I think, and for many guys, there are a lot of bold headed guys who choose to grow a beard or a goatee or something, and I do think it adds character to them. For me personally I think it can add some character.
I feel the same way about hair at the top of my head. I feel exactly the same, so I’m very cautious about hair.
You’re making me jealous.
But I never felt the same way about the beard unfortunately. But I know…
Would you have grown longer hair?
I have, yeah. When I was 19 I had a pony tail.
Yeah, but however, as I grow older, the top of my head, the hair starts receding a bit. So pony tail isn’t the best look at this age I think. I tend to sort of grow it and then shave it off. Spiky at the top with a little more volume. But for me, you know, a man’s hairstyle says a lot about the character. And I assume the same with beards, right? I mean, would you agree with that?
I think so. I mean, I think a beard is a thing of respect. If a man can grow a full and a clean and a good beard, I think he’s got… He can gain respect from that potentially. Not every beard. Maybe not every beard.
But I think it’s fairly well kept, but not over-trimmed as we talked about, then I think it’s a good thing for a man.
You know, I would agree with this, because originally I didn’t really like bards until I saw the power of it. I mean, I have a slightly bit of…
The power of not beards, but I have a slight bit of a baby face, so people think I look quite a bit younger than they are. And when I actually grew a beard, it helps. You can kinda see they don’t talk down to you.
They don’t actually talk like you’re 23. Right? In Russia obviously 23-year-olds consider like a full grown up man, but where we’re from you’re not really an adult until you’re 25.
Especially in certain jobs where you need respect, and authority, you need that extra age factor. So that people listen to you.
And beards can come, you know…
Yeah, they can add…. They can make you look older or more sophisticated.
Yeah, I suppose, yeah. The man of men.
Yeah, exactly, he’s the icon of masculinity and he, for as long as I know, he’s got that mustache. Just the mustache, but a good full big mustache and you know, Cheers, he was in Cheers. You wanna go wherever you are…
70s? 80s? No that would’ve been the 80s.
I don’t know… When was Cheers popular? Was it 80s?
Yeah, 70s. But it could be 80s, I don’t know.
I don’t know, I would say 70-80s he was most popular. Because he had the tv shows as well, he was in a lot of tv show, sorry, films after that.
Cheers. And then I think he was in a lot of films, like cop films.
Yeah yeah, there was a few, I remember the posters. I think by the 90s beards kinda went out of style and then they made a comeback in the late millennium.
When my dad got married, he got married sort of late. It would’ve been I guess late 70s, early 80s. Late 70s. He had a big kind of mopped hair, more like a bowl style, and a mustache. A proper good mustache. And it was in style, you know, flares and all that craic, and you know, it was really the style.
Yeah. It was a fashion thing then, and I guess if you didn’t follow the fashion, you might’ve been looked down or… So, coming to… It brings us to the question that we wanna ask. How does a beard benefit a man? And we’ve talked a little bit about. But let’s go into it in more detail. What does it give? I mean, in Siberia…
In Siberia… Look, I mean, I’ve only been here for two months, so I don’t know what this is gonna be. What did you say? A weather shield?
Will this be a weather shield? Let me test this out and let you know, right? But I assume that nothing less than fur here would keep you warm. So I don’t know, maybe it does benefit, maybe it doesn’t have a practical use. I mean, you’ve been here for a few years, so you must know…
But I haven’t had my full beard here. I haven’t, to be honest, I haven’t felt the need to, I mean, it’s… Don’t get me wrong it’s cold here, but I… You wrap up well, plenty of good clothes, you don’t have to have a beard.
You can even have a sunroof, you know, at the top of your head and you’re okay. I don’t know. I think it could benefit giving warmth, but whether or not it’s absolutely necessary. As we talked about it can change your age. You can be an icon with it.
I mean ,there are guys who, I was gonna say guys and girls, but guys only, who have beards and mustaches and if they shave them, you’re gonna be like who the heck is that? You know? There are people, and we’ll get to that later, I wanna talk about them later, but they wouldn’t know who they are.
And as well, have ever noticed the big actors when they finish the film? I mean a very popular franchise maybe, they start to grow a beard.
That’s right, the beard and the basic hair.
I think they try to separate themself from that image. I think, maybe I’m wrong, but maybe I’m really into it too much, but I think maybe they avoid being a type set. They want people to see them ‘I’m not just Captain America’,
I’m not just that person, I’m a different person, I’m an actor, and I can do other roles’. You know, like, and maybe this is reasoning, maybe not, Chris Evans who plays Captain America, has a beard or had a beard after he finished, you know. He’s now… I think he’s out of it now. But, spoiler alert…
So you’re saying that a beard can conceal a man’s identity?
No, but, well, potentially. What I’m also saying is that they can show him to be a different character or a different person like… especially if you’re an actor, like Captain America has never had a beard.
But if Chris Evans the actor has a beard then people say okay, this is just the actor then. You know, they don’t look at him and say that’s Captain America, as they might if he didn’t have a beard. But they say oh yeah, he’s a good actor, maybe we’ll put him in something else.
And that’s what I think the reason is behind it. And I’ve noticed that, you know, a few people do that.
I actually have an interesting episode with a beard. When I was at Sydney airport, coming to Seoul, just after Novosibirsk. And there were about 50 people in line, you know, going through security check, the security check point, and I was the only one who got called out because I had a beard.
And it was quite a long beard when I got to Seoul. And they made me stand in front of that machine that spins around and scans your body 360 degrees and I went to the security office afterward and they said you’re all clear, you’re ready to go.
And I said it’s the beard, that’s why you pulled me off, right? It’s the beard, right? So there is, apparently in Sydney, right, I have reasons to believe that they’re suspicious of people who have beards. So something to do with security risks, right? So definitely concealed my identity.
Actually this is a good point because I have shaved before I went to holidays or before I traveled, just to avoid being stereotyped into any kind of group that might be considered dangerous.
But you see, I took my passport photo, my reissued passport photo, a fresh one, with a beard on.
Your passport has a beard on it.
Right. So as soon as they look at it, they look at me, then I go straight to that portal scanner, right?
So we talked about benefits. That’s a negative. If you have taken, and I have taken a driver’s license photo with a decent enough beard, and then you kind of, whenever you present that identity card, you have a beard.
And so if you want and then shave your beard, you might look differently, and they’ll say is this the right guy? Is this his brother? It could potentially mask your identity and cause problems I guess too.
Hey Sam, I’ve a question to ask. You mentioned a Movember, right? Recently I’ve heard it and I thought it was a funny term when I heard of. I do know about it, but can you go into detail about that?
Okay, sure. So, Movember is of course a play of words with November and you can guess what month it happens. It happens every year at November and it’s an event involving the growing of mustaches. And it’s to raise awareness of men’s health issues, so health problems that only men have.
And so a guy will participate by agreeing to collect some money for the charity and he’ll grow his mustache, maybe beard as well, for the whole month. And maybe he’ll start a little bit earlier just to get a go.
And then if you go on a website you can see some of the pictures and stuff for Movember and you can get… I think there are some impressive ones, some creatives ones and stuff there too. So, worth checking out if you’re interested.
You know, this is so interesting. Because I had the exact same thing. I was teaching a class here about charities and how charities in the west raised money when you do funny activities. And I found out that some students kinda go whyyy?
Why would they do that? Cause one of the big things that Australia has is actually the opposite Movember. We’ve got a thing called a big shave, okay? It’s to create awareness of cancer, and there’s a charity for that, so the idea of the charity model is very simple. You do an act of great bravery…
Or just make yourself look silly.
Or something silly, and then people will sponsor you and give you money and you give that money to the charity of your choice. So in Australia that’s called a big shave, basically you shave your head down to number zero, or your beard down to zero, right?
Something that you’ve been growing for years. It has to be commitment of some sort. And people would give $50, $100, $200 and if you collect, you know, from five to ten people, that’s enough $100 dollars in the piggy-bank, right, the charities. Movember…
Watch out for that. And obviously, once you get to Movember, you need to apply some products, because like hair is the same, you…
What do we use? Guys? I mean traditionally, or at least in my day, guess when I was grown up, or when I was younger, like leaving school age, guys started to be more into a lot of, a lot of varied excessive beauty products.
Yeah, we used to call them metro males back in those days.
But I’m not that kind of guy. But however, if you got a beard, and if you don’t have a beard, you need to have stuffed to take care of your face.
Tell us about that, I’ve never done that in my life.
Face garnish. I mean, simple things like shave cream or shaving gel, a razor, or an electric razor. Some people have beard oil.
Have you ever heard of it?
I don’t.. It’s not my thing, but I don’t frown on it. But it’s.. I think it’s to promote.. Not to give you a beard, but it can help you maybe to grow a bit more healthily or something. I personally wouldn’t buy it, but it’s an interesting idea I guess. It’s a little bit too feminine in my mind to put oil on your face.
Are you gonna tell me that there are shampoos and conditioners for beards too any chance?
I’m not gonna, but I don’t know about that. I’m thinking…
I’m thinking there probably is.
I mean there’s a product for anything under the sun these days, right? So…
Yeah, yeah. So a bit of scissors maybe. An electric trimmer, but usually just simple shaving cream for me, cream would be fine and a razor. Just an ordinary razor, Gillette the best a man can get.
True. I’m sorry I only use electric. I’m a little bit lazy with beards.
I don’t know, but I prefer the simple but decent enough razor. Doesn’t have to be Gillette, it can be anyone, but as long as it’s not one of the cheapy cheapy disposable ones you know.
That one really can cut your face.
Yeah. But if it’s… But if I’m keeping a beard, I’ll have an electric razor. And I do have one for that purpose.
My personal preference – get the best electric shaver possible and it’s good for a few years, good for five generally, so invest a little bit.
I’m keeping mine for life.
I found that the back of the electric razor, you know, the little switch thing that you check with, you can’t change the plates on that.
You can change the plates on the main one, but the back one… I used to shave my beards with… But doesn’t so. Eventually that one gets blunt.
Yeah. So, famous people. We talked a little bit, we mentioned Robert Downey Jr, we mentioned Tom Selleck. Well, from fictional characters, Khal Drogo from Lord of the Rings, oh sorry, from the Game of Thrones had a kind of beard with a ponytail. He was a big macho guy.
Gandalf, right? Not too far, living in New Zealand, not too far from Australia, right? But I’m not gonna get them mixed up I promise. On the negative side – Hitler, that’s something. But Charlie Chaplin. Interestingly, Charlie Chaplin had a similar growth, similar shape, but it’s…
But with his bowler hat he is instantly recognizable. These guys are recognizable. I mean if you saw Gandalf without his beard, who the heck is that? Right? So they’re iconic. Jack Sparrow. He’s got something there.
Abraham Lincoln. Famous American.
I think he actually has got his own style, it’s called Yay.
Right? So imagine a guy like that didn’t have a beard. You’d be like who the heck is this? Hulk Hogan, do you know that guy? Popular in the 90s. Big wrestler guy, he was in some films too. And he’s got some mustache that kinda went down over his…
Salvador Dali we mentioned. Santa Claus.
They actually… They don’t have Santa Claus here.
Beard’s man we need them. Like if Santa Claus didn’t have a beard, who would he be? Who would be like oh who’s that guy in a red suit?
There’s a guy here that replaces Santa Claus and his name is Ded Moroz or something.
Does he have a beard just like our Santa Claus?
He’s the grandfather Frost. Yes, he looks… I’m not an authoritative person on this, but he has a lot of similarities to Santa Claus. He can be in blue sometimes.
His coat is a bit longer in some depictions, but he’s pretty much pretty similar. His name is Ded Moroz, it translates Grandfather Frost. So yeah. But he’s very close to Santa. Shakespeare had something. Eddie Murphy has a wee bit.
Under his lip, a slight mustache.
Kinda like Hitler, doesn’t he? It does look like..
My point is these guys would be.. Who would they be without their facial hair? I’m really persuading you now, aren’t I? I’m persuading myself maybe. Let’s grow beards or do Movember or something.
Actually, you know what? You’re right. I mean, beards do make something very recognizable.
I think so. A bit of face garnish.
Face garden. That’s really noticeable.
Which, in summary, we wanna ask. Should a guy shave? Is it okay to shave or should he call it a bait? His face garden?
It’s a question for the ages.
So you at home, listening, or wherever you’re listening, what do you think? Should we shave? I mean I don’t think it’s wrong, to shave. We could never say it’s wrong to shave, but I think there’s something to be saved for a beard.
Good beard. So guys, girls, that was the craic about beards and mustaches. We talked a little bit about our own faces, a bit about history, a bit about the different words and phrases that might be used for beards and mustaches.
Some of the benefits and even negativity connected with a beard. About a charity Movember. About famous people who have beards and our iconic with then. And a little bit about what we would use for our beard. So that was the craic about beards and mustaches.