Fags Against Facial Hair

Rant: Fags Against Facial Hair

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Check this quote from Art After Midnight by Steven Hager (1986)

Once a haven for bohemians, the West Village had long since become overly commercialized, overpriced, and overcrowded. East Village gays like (Keith) Haring were growing increasingly worried about the possibility of a West Village invasion into their neighborhood. "One of the earliest signs of gentrification was that it was safe for the gay clones to come over here," says Haring. To thwart this development, Haring began stenciling the words "Clones Go Home" in orange Day-Glo paint on every entrance to the East Village from the west. He signed the stencil with the letters FAFH, which stood for Fags Against Facial Hair, an imaginary gay group. While Haring was spray-painting this message, David McDermott happened to walk by.

"I didn't know Keith, but I thought he was doing the greatest thing," says McDermott. "A lot of East Village gays were dressing up like clones at night and going over to the West Village. It was the first time anyone had said anything against the macho image of the clones." A few weeks later, McDermott was inspired to write an article attacking the clones in the East Village Eye. "First of all the whole Gay lifestyle is an anachronism left over from the year 1972," wrote McDermott. "The Gay West Village and its representatives in the neighborhoods throughout Manhattan, and in cities of America from San Francisco to Syracuse, is as relevant to the present as a Pierre Cardin suit and a wide tie."

Now, more than ever, it is time for fags everywhere to take a stand against facial hair, in all its many and disgusting forms.

Naturally, the mustache is a pathetic case. Almost nobody who even pretends to be hip wears a mustache alone. It is reserved for the most tired of gay clones, policemen, highschoolers with the cheesy variety, and other tasteless, clueless people. True, a few people with a highly refined sense of irony will affect a pencil mustache in the style of John Waters. But that is something best left to experts.

One of the most noxious plagues of modern life is the goatee. It now appears with great commonness among all manner of people who wish to appear hip. Sometimes it is the weak-chinned man who sports this atrocity, hoping to add some definition to his facial features by the affectation of chin fuzz. Sadly, he fails, looking instead like someone who forgot to wash his face after performing a particularly messy rim job. As with any fashion that has gone from being the property of a few renegades to being widely practiced, the goatee no longer sends the message that one is daring, but rather that one is a member of a herd, and a herd of goats at that.

Sideburns thankfully have receded from their position of prominence which they enjoyed in the late 80s. Think Luke Perry. Yes, sideburns were the first foray of the modern return of facial hair, a harbinger of much worse to come. Only a few short years ago, sideburns were a sign of hippiedom, sure to be rejected by any self-respecting punker (with the exception of those into rockabilly who trimmed their sideburns in fanciful forms.) One need only to look at any picture of Isaac Asimov to realize the ridiculousness of sideburns.

And of course, there's the full beard. For those who suffer from extremely low self-esteem, the beard serves as a mask that obscures the features from chin to eyes. One beard enthusiast claimed that a beard "adds flavor to a kiss." The mere thought of it makes me shudder. All the crumbs and food globules the beard sporter has dropped remain there, providing a feast for all manner of festering bacteria and who knows what other fauna. Of course, the beard is part of the Bear look, yet another gay clone type which is robbing gay men of their individuality.

Gay men of the world, I plead of you, shave off your facial hair! You have nothing to lose but your whiskers!

Larry-bob
larrybob@gmail.com
3/23/97


Postscript: C. Bard Cole points out that there is more about the original Fags Against Facial Hair in Doug Sadownick's book Sex Between Men, with a statement by performance artist Tim Miller about the group.
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