East End Beardsmen – Countdown to No-Shave November: John Steinbeck

The late, great and versatile East End beardsman John Steinbeck
The late, great and versatile East End beardsman John Steinbeck, Photo: iStock/Thinkstock, Public Domain

Just 25 days remain before the start of America’s annual beardfest to raise cancer awareness, No-Shave November. As men around the country prepare to spend a month without shaving and enjoy the shaggy look, we celebrate facial follicles and countdown our favorite East End beardsman, from history and today. Let’s hope these hairy heroes help get you in the mood.

We reach back into the annals of history for the next honoree on our list of great East End beardsmen…

John Steinbeck remains one of America’s greatest literary heroes, and a defining figure in Sag Harbor. And nearly 50 years after his death (in 1968), his name still conjures a vision of bearded masculinity. Not only did this beloved Pulitzer- and Nobel-winning author of 27 books wear various styles of beard for much of his life, he also wrote eloquent and philosophical observations about his bristled brethren.

“And finally, in our time a beard is the one thing that a woman cannot do better than a man, or if she can her success is assured only in a circus.”

― John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charley: In Search of America (1962)

“A man with a beard was always a little suspect anyway. You couldn’t say you wore a beard because you liked a beard. People didn’t like you for telling the truth. You had to say you had a scar so you couldn’t shave.”

― John Steinbeck, from Cannery Row (1945)

Even if Steinbeck had spent his life clean-shaven—and he absolutely did not—it’d be hard to ignore the man’s understanding of facial hair. During his 66 years, the great, and often mustachioed, East End writer was photographed in full whiskers, a standard goatee and a modern Vandyke. What’s not to love?

Visit no-shave.org to learn more about the No-Shave November initiative.

Meet more East End Beardsmen.


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