The Many Forms of Pirate Beards

October 25th, 2010 by Potato

Halloween is fast approaching, so it’s long past time for those hearties going as pirates to figure out their facial hair, especially if the natural approach to costuming is to be taken.

A pirate’s beard is an integral part of his outward persona. While each pirate’s beard is unique to them, and can be as fluid as the sea herself, there are several broad categories to keep in mind:

Long and unkempt: face it, pirates spend a lot of time at sea, and beard-trimming falls pretty far down on the personal hygiene list of priorities. So a long, unkempt look is great for a pirate. Bonus points, of course, for tentacles. As a practical matter though, it’s a tough look to pull off, as it will require months of dedication and celibacy. People on the bus may think you’re a touch off, as the shipwrecked look is not a good look for anyone who’s not a pirate. If the pirate inside your soul is dead set on the full facial FSM, perhaps prosthetics are the way to go.

For most of the other options, one can start with a respectable, scholarly full beard and trim as needed on Halloween:

The Swashbuckler: Swashbucklers need a little facial hair to add to the mystique and danger of being an expert duellist. Often a moustache with just a little hint of hair on the chin, ala Will Turner, or that other famous pirate of the Caribbean. Other notable swashbucklers have stuck to just a moustache, with the Dread Pirate Roberts utilizing just a thin trace of hair above his upper lip. A thin, neat, focused bit of facial hair is important to the swashbuckler: it conveys the message that they are a refined gentleman that can wield a rapier with finesse, yet are just wild and mysterious enough to be truly dangerous. This is someone who’s in control of their dark side, but it is definitely there; not your average cutlass-swinging bit of cannon fodder.

The Goatee: A goatee is a good all-around facial accent that remains faintly sinister. Excellent for the quiet, brooding types of pirate who don’t need anything fancy to get the job done, and still remains work-appropriate.

The Captain Hook: I’ve never seen a real, live person able to pull off the cartoonish curly moustache of Captain Hook, but if you’ve got the follicles for it, then it can be a good variant of the swashbuckler. Sinister.

Muttonchops: Not strictly recognizable as a pirate beard, muttonchops nonetheless can be an excellent choice (after all, the rest of the costume will mark you as a pirate). Muttonchops are basically the opposite of the Swashbuckler, both in the areas of your face to shave, and also in that they signify you as one of the cutlass-swinging cannon-fodder working pirates. Yarr. A quick shower and outfit change and you could even pass for Royal Navy. Or Wolverine.

The 5th Day: A version of the lost at sea full beard is to simply go with a nice 5-day shadow, completely untrimmed. It signifies the roughneck nature of piracy without requiring the artistry or upkeep of the other options. It can also represent the desperation of a well-heeled Navy man fallen on hard times, a man with no attachment or special love for his pirate beard, but who’s in no position to keep up a clean shaven facade.

Have a happy Halloween!

Some short notes:

Jenn writes: “Jenn is willing her husband to stop singing christmas carols. Please. someone make him stop.”

There are only two capital crimes left in Canada: treason, and singing Christmas carols before Halloween. I’m not saying that this is a death threat, but actions have consequences, Kyle. Legally sanctioned consequences.

It’s always been a bit of a challenge filling up the old Halloween playlist, so I’m happy to report that I’ve listened to the lyrics of Lady Gaga’s Monster and Teeth, and hooyeah, those are Halloween songs all right. (Monster is easy, you only need to be slightly literally-minded; “show me your teeth” becomes Halloweeny once you’ve got vampires on the brain).

I also updated the background images for the season. You may need to hit reload to see them.

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