If you see a man sporting permanent stubble, it is appropriate to assume that he has character flaws that are very grave.

I don't come to smear anyone. I don't come to spread any false teachings. I come only to share with the general public a fact which I have discovered. The passage of time and the concomitant accumulation of life experience have only served to strengthen my resolve on the truth of this point.

Men's facial hair can take three basic forms. You can be clean shaven. That's fine. You can have stubble, meaning you haven't shaven for a little while and a little bit of visible hair is growing in. That's fine. Or you can have well-defined facial hair—beard, mustache, etc. That's fine.

All of these are fine. By "fine," I mean that they are not in and of themselves indicative of moral character. Yes, Stalin had a mustache—but so do some nice guys, too. You never know.

There is, however, one form of facial hair that is indicative of an underlying character flaw. That look is permanent stubble. As you can deduce, stubble is naturally a temporary state. It is the state between shaving, and having a beard. If someone has permanent stubble, that means that they are taking steps to groom and cultivate their stubble, keeping it permanently at a short length, so that it never makes the transition to beard, nor to a straightforward clean-shaven face. They are working for that stubble.

They are so thirsty.

Why do we find stubble to be an appealing look? Because it carries a not-so-subtle devil-may-care connotation. Stubble is the look of the man too engaged with important life tasks to take time out to shave—and too self-assured to care that he hasn't shaved. Stubble is, subconsciously, the bad boy look. This man, with his stubble: he doesn't have time for your worldly grooming rules. He couldn't shave today—he was up too late last night doing things. Or doing people.

To have stubble implies that one did shave within the past few days, at least. Unless you have caught someone in the relatively rare act of growing a permanent beard, stubble implies that you are dealing with a man who does, in fact, shave, but who has just not done so lately. "Too busy. Too cool. Too fucking rock star to shave today. I am a devil, and the devil may care," says stubble. It sends a message, subconscious or not, that the man in question is free from any social mandate to shave. His face does not work for the man. His face, and its stubble, is his outward sign of his inner free spirit.

Stubble is supposed to be a byproduct of an underlying lifestyle that some find attractive. It is a transitory state in the ongoing drama of a man who doesn't give a fuck about society's facial hair grooming expectations.

Now consider the man who grooms his stubble. He is living a lie. He wants to experience the social benefits of the non-caring attitude that stubble conveys, while actually caring very much. He is, in his own way, just as fake as the middle-aged man who buys a leather jacket and a motorcycle to appear tough, or the insecure man who gets silicone muscle implants to appear strong. He does not care for authenticity; he cares only for appearance. His image is not grounded in truth. He is a man who cares less for honesty than he does for his own self-dealing. He may appear, in all ways, to be a fine person. But he is not to be trusted.

Ignore this advice at your own peril.

[Image by Jim Cooke]