Ask the Mason-Dixon Line Power Grab : How to grow a beard.


Ahoy there! We sent our intrepid feature writer (and creative writing editor), Joe Field, to be theliaison between the realm of the living and the strange entity denominated Mason-Dixon Line Power Grab. On this first feature, we wanted to know how to grow a beard in a dapper fashion. What we got was something that first appeared on Toast Magazine but we now have stolen from Joe’s fable moleskine book.

No apologies are made about the weirdness of this feature. If you think about it, beards are freaky and you should fear them. Take it away…



Ho there, Little Bobby! I see ye’ve got yourself a fledgling bushel all about your visage. And why, that’s Uncle Bert’s old geetar slung about your neck! All a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’ in a rock ‘n roll band these days, you say? Songs of war and triumph, love and misguided affection, booze and wrongings, is it? Well then. Seat thyself, and let’s ponder a while upon these things.

Not lightly does a man take the decision to wear the hallowed cheek-sproutings. Quite the statement, one can make, with the merest fleck of lip hair. Take old Bobby D, the actor fellow from New York city. Heart-throb and fanny-magnet extraordinaire was he, Little Bobby – fame and fortune were like sausages and beans to him. Yet he threw it all in for the chance to play Lucifer himself, up on the silver screen. And how did he transform his chiseled brow and comfortingly thrusting jawline into the sweaty piglet features of the darkling whore-beast Satan? With beard and moo-stache, Little Bob.

Yes, so powerful is this tool of manhood, it can change the very bones of its wearer. You’ve read your learning books, I know, Bob. Well, young Adolf (may he choke on Satan’s seed) was just a fanciful jackaninny and trader of glass beads until a blind gypsy cursed him with that lip fur. And once it took a hold of him the darkness twisted his soul into that of a murderous, vengeful, hungry ghost, lusting for power and loot. That’s one for the history books. Yes sir, and never you mind.

Well, young Bob, I compile here a list of truths and guidance, in the hopes that ye not fall foul of this plague of plushness that’s getting the young folks all queasy with a fuzzy fever. Be careful, Little Bobby, in choosing your bearding. And veer ye not into sinful habits of cheek-shaving whatever ye do, son. For that way lies the paths of Hades themselves. Ye’ll see. Read on, and mark these words well, Little Bob.

Beard types

The Wispy Woo – this fledgling beard is always well trimmed around the cheek, and is almost impossible to spot in a certain light. Favoured by ragamuffins and art school dropouts.

The Double Fist – worn by members of faith communities and alternative rock musicians alike, this lengthy follicle sprouting is defined by the ability of its wearers to grasp its length in two clenched palms.


The Grotty Wookiee – luxuriant-yet-unkempt hairdo and straggly-yet-sumptuous beard merge around the temples, to form a crash helmet of waxy, fulsome fuzz. Sunglasses are not optional.

Phnglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh Wgah’nagl Fhtagn – chin tentacles that would awaken the Ancient One himself. Wearers of this bold beard probably listen to bands like Pitchshifter and Soulfly.

Th’ Sutcliffe – the facial equivalent of a 10pt border, Th’ Sutcliffe enhances and reinforces the jawline, yet maximises the area of clean, trustworthy skin on display.

Astro Turf – neatly-trimmed using rulers along the cheeks, to form perfect diagonal lines from burn to chin. This look is usually augmented with a flat cap and pair of non-prescription glasses.

MacReady’s Salvation – a daring, experimental approach to beardery, MacReady’s Salvation sees the wearer forego any kind of chin, cheek or lip adornment in favour of a full bushel about the neck and throat. A neckbeard, then.

The Ponce – boutique beard that has barely grown out of the adolescence of designer stubble before being neatly carved to within an inch of its wispy life. Footballing dandy Bobby ‘Lily’ Savage is a keen wearer.

The Sharpie – named after the pen it is drawn on with, this pretend beard often attracts young children looking for something to do some colouring in on.

The Dandy’s Ham – an extension of the basic muttonchop, with added jaw-bush. Moustaches are strictly forbidden.

dandy's ham

The Infinite Moustache – also known as the ‘goatee’, this semi-professional beard is achieved by dipping one’s lips first in a bowl of treacle, then in a bowl of barbershop floor-sweepings.

The Jazz Shadow – this small hairy spot on the bottom lip is favoured by hep-cats and Daddy-O’s. It’s said that saxophone players invented the Jazz Shadow back in the ‘50s to help keep the instrument’s mouthpiece from slipping out of their mouths during 20-minute solos.

The Mexican Wolf-Boy – the ultimate in full facial protection, this carpet-beard leaves only the eyes nude. If you can grow one of these, you will never have to pay to get into a nightclub again.

Old Nick’s Dangly Chuff – chinbeards don’t get any sexier than this. Wearers of the Dangly Chuff will most likely drink all your fizzy pop before secretly slipping your girlfriend a rude note offering to take her to Chessington World of Adventures and tickle her bum on the Jungle Bus.

Did you know?

  • Henry VIII, being a right git, imposed a beard tax on the goodfolk of Ye Olde Britain. The levy varied depending on the beard-wearer’s status and income, and was intended to encourage the populace to shave more often. The drumstick-munching wife-murderer was a hirsutist himself – although he trimmed the cheeks like a big girly ponce.
  • Drummer Frank Beard is the only member of ZZ Top who doesn’t sport a beard. He’s got a moustache but that doesn’t count.
  • Beards are spread by airborne spores, just like mushrooms.
  • Omar Sharif’s legendary ‘beard of beef’, which he can be seen wearing in the 1969 film Che!, was intended to keep the swarthy actor’s face protected during the filming of stunts. However, Sharif loved the meaty beard so much he kept it permanently attached to his fizog.


  • Barry White’s beard was maintained by a team of ‘beard roadies’, who kept the Love Walrus’s face fungus permanently lubed up with piping hot grizzly bear grease.
  • In the homosexual community, a ‘beard’ is a woman who pretends to be a gay fellow’s partner, in order to conceal his proclivities towards man-love. The reverse of this unusual role is known as a ‘well-dressed friend’.
  • The celebrated French serial-killer Bluebeard turned his beard blue by chewing the ends of biros while writing short stories about a crime-fighting mouse called ‘Mr Twitchy Nose’.


  • Old Man Time’s beard is made of dead people’s hair.
  • The Bearded Pope is a fictional character from German fairy tales who terrorises naughty children by hiding under their beds and playing whiny songs about his cat, Truffles, on a flying-V ukulele.



How to grow a beard:

A film about people growing beards:

A song about meat-beards:

An anti-beard short film:

Rock music by bearded musicians:

The World Beard and Moustache Championships:

Beards, budgies and Big Geoff:

Words: The Mason-Dixon Line Power Grab Line, as told to Joseph McArthur Field.

Illustrations kindly donated by The School of Biology & Anatomical Sciences, Miskatonic University. 

About the author: Joseph (@joemcafield)  writes for several publications, including his own Tumblr. Sometimes he dons a mask and roams the lonely gennels of Sheffield with a banjo.

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