Manolo for the Men Fashion and Lifestyle Advice for Men

April 21, 2006

Rebarbative* Remarks

Filed under: Celebrity,Glasses,Grooming,Men's Fashion,The Big Man — Izzy @ 3:20 pm

Some of Izzy’s readers, and even the Manolo himself, have thrown down a bespoke gauntlet by denying that a goatee can improve the facial appearance of the portly. In his defense, Izzy asks you to consider the following pieces of evidence.

Clean Shaven Michael MooreMichael Moore with Goatee

Although no one is ever going to confuse Michael Moore for Ghandi, can there be any doubt that he looks better with a goatee? Although the Manolo intended the photo on the right to serve as a warning to the chinless, Izzy, with all due respect, happens to think it is the best photo of the filmmaker he has ever seen. And, no, the improvement is not wholly due to his changing glasses and ditching the ballcap.

* Derives from the Middle French (se) rebarber meaning “to resist” and earlier “to face (the enemy)” (literally “to face beard-to-beard”).


  1. I must control myself and not allow my personal politics to cloud my judgement. I will concede that he looks better in the picture on the right. However, I have to say that this has nothing to do with his goatee, but rather because his tie is not loose, he is not wearing a baseball cap, has his hair styled, and is wearing glasses that don’t remind me of a japanese business man. His clothes are more carefully selected. Notice the small patterned tie which bring attention to his face as opposed to the clown tie on the left.

    A goatee only makes your second chin look bigger.

    Comment by Rob D. — April 21, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

  2. Bah. My sweetie looks much better with facial hair. He threatened to shave his beard off before our wedding and I requested that he at least just cut it down to a goatee. Some people’s chins just look better when not nude.

    Comment by Anne — April 21, 2006 @ 5:20 pm

  3. I must concede the point – – but a lot has to do with the total image – better hair, glasses and suit, and a better quality photograph, much beloved by “Before and After” makeover / weight loss photographers (show the before as a crappy polaroid of someone looking miserable and bedraggled, vs. a large, professionally shot photo of the person smiling and looking great!)

    A truly scientific comparison would be the same image as the right without the goatee.

    Comment by Gary — April 21, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

  4. As the Izzy points out, it is true, the Michael Moore does look marginally better in the picture on the right, but the Manolo attributes this the better glasses and the lack of the ball cap on his giant pumpkin.

    However, the Manolo is willing to forgive the Izzy all, as he has used the word “rebarbative”, one of the Manolo’s favorites.

    Comment by Manolo — April 21, 2006 @ 8:01 pm

  5. Is it just me, but does the goatee seem to be on the second chin and not on the actual chin?

    Comment by enygma — April 21, 2006 @ 9:34 pm

  6. Enygma I think I agree with you. To me a goatee only looks attractive on a man who’s a normal weight (not even remotely overweight!) and who also has a competely shaved head – which of course has to be well-shaped. My husband had one for about a month – he hated it though – required way to much maintenance… he said it felt like tending topiary.

    Comment by Phyllis — April 22, 2006 @ 4:00 pm

  7. Bah! I take a stand here and now: I like the well-shaped goatee, and find it suits many men, of average weight, less-than-average-weight, and more-than-average weight. I am a classicist, and therefore do not care so much for the niggling Neo-beatnik effort sported by many Gen-Xers and twentysomethings (no longer the same thing!), but prefer the well-groomed goatee, which does not look as if the wearer thereof has struggled to produce sufficient foliage for the topiary efforts. Nonetheless, the children are certainly entitled to experiment with their own versions (before donning the goatee of the grownup).

    For those who feel the goatee should most appropriately be accompanied by Mephistopheles, yet prefer something more attractive than the shrubbery sported by ZZTop, may I suggest a nice, classical Elizabethan beard? Not the spade beard, suitable primarily for dignitaries, nor the churchwarden (suitable for ditto), but the neat barbered outline of mouth, chin, and jawline; the line between the chin and the ear should be razored to a geometric precision, giving definition to the jaw itself (rather than the short-all-over, but otherwise unshaped, beard of the engineer). Fashions in Hair by Richard Corson will give the imaginative a wonderful launching point.

    Comment by La BellaDonna — May 4, 2006 @ 11:51 am

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