The Daily Rant
Rant archives
RSS feed for The Daily Rant RSS Feed
Streaming Daily Rants
Podcast/MP3 Daily Rants
About me
Home Turf
Pave the grass
My news clips
Contact me
Pa. gambles
Pa. pay raise
Pa. papers
Pa. poliblogs
Pa. columnists
Pa. AP news
N.J. papers
N.J. AP news
Good reporting
White House
GAO news
Iraq war
Peak oil
For Men
News feed
Warp Stock
Site map

as seen on phillyBurbs.com

Hair today, gone tomorrow?
It's a guy thing

Should I shave my beard?

Shave it (Clean up your act)
Keep it (It suits your face)
Let it grow (Go ZZ Top and flip it up)

Current Results
Hockey playoff beards have become as much a rite of spring as paying your taxes or buds on the trees. 

But how and why this tradition of tossing the razor got started seems to be something either unspoken to outsiders or simply lost in time. The closest answer I was able to find after a lengthy Internet search is that some team back in the 1970s started doing it.

My foggy long-term memory aside, I don't recall it being the Flyers. I can remember Bobby Clarke sporting no teeth as he hoisted the silver cup, but few whiskers. Of course, the Broad Street Bullies always looked a bit scraggy anyway back then.

It's a reverse trend to be sure. Just take a look around your office today and see how many men, and even fewer women, are sporting facial hair. Clean shaven is au currant. The few guys who still grow one for the winter, usually shave it by Easter.

Anyone who doesn't seems mired in the grunge-filled, stock-booming days of the '90s.

Just my luck.

I started growing my beard back in college in the '80s.

My freshman college roommate, Steve "Teddy Bear" Koch, was Temple's soccer goalie at the time. He would naturally grow his hair long and his beard bushy in winter, then lop it off and get a crew-cut as his season approached.

One of the funniest memories I have from college is the two of us wandering into a barber shop on Columbia Avenue and asking the folks there to do the honors.  They cut the hair of few white customers in those days, let alone shave them. 

At first, my beard was a patchy, scruffy affair designed to cover up some pock marks, a few pimples and a cleft chin. Think of Leonardo Di Caprio with dirt on his face and you pretty much have it, sans Leo of course. Steve would laugh heartily if he caught me trying to trim my accidental anchor and I distinctly remember him once recommending tweezers and scissors.

Eventually, I'd get so frustrated with it, I'd just shave it off. Then, miraculously in my senior year, the mustache finally connected with the goatee. And I've been sporting some variation of a short boxed beard ever since, varying its length, thickness and style to go with the times.

During my second job after college, after two harsh upstate winters in a row, I was sporting a full beard when my partner in the newspaper's Web site, heavy metal singer and graphic designer Joe Karavis, brought in a facial hair chart and suggested we compete to see which ones we could grow.

After a few weeks, we both drew the line at the Franz-Josef and mutton chops and called it a draw.

At midnight on Dec. 31, 1999, Joe had the guests at his party take turns shaving his long hair and the last time I saw Joe, though, he was still sporting a bald head and face.

As you can see from my column shot and the chart, I never made it to his party - I was at work waiting for the Millenium bug to hit - and continue to sport a variation of a goatee and a balbo, even if it's passe. I think it helps balance my face now that my hair line seems to be diving backward.

If it wasn't for the Stanley Cup playoffs, I'd feel like a lone wolf, raging against the global current. Nearly every time before I board a plane I'm stopped and nearly stripped search, probably because of it. Such beards are banned from some workplaces in India, even for Muslims, and the country of Turkmenistan even passed a law prohibiting them.

I thought the National Association for the Promotion of Beards in Society might offer me some moral support. After all, it launched a campaign to "write to prominent people worldwide that have shaved off their facial hair because they have felt pressure to do so by their friends, wives, families or society for whatever reason."

However, the Association's Web site hasn't been updated since 1999. On the plus side, I did find a Web site devoted to three guys who have decided to forego shaving to raise money for cancer research.

That started me thinking. So, in an effort to be truly interactive, I've decided to let you, dear reader, decide what I should do.

Should I shave it or let it go? You now have two weeks to decide.

And, no, growing a mullet is no longer an option.


  • Got a playoff beard? Compete in the SeriousDanger.com unshaven contest.

  • What's the connection between sports stars and beards?

  • Who has the best playoff beard? Three different takes on the subject: The Top Five Stanley Cup Playoff Beards, The Perfect 10: NHL playoff beards and ESPN examines Jeff O'Neill's beard.

  • Do felines approve of facial hair?

  • Ever see a baby with a beard? This site has 'em.

  • Don't have time to grow your playoff beard? Buy one instead.

Dave Ralis' Pave The Grass column appears on Mondays. You can send him an e-mail at  or call him at 215-269-5051. To read his previous columns, click here.

April 12, 2004