Dear Johan Lindeberg,
Hi there. You don’t know me. My name is Steve. I’m a publicist and I do some writing on the side. I’m in my late 20’s. I currently reside in Brooklyn. Some people say I have a rakish charm, but they say it like this: “Steve, you’re a real jackass.” But none of that matters. All you need to know about me is that I am concerned.
I am concerned about your face.
This morning, I was perusing Instagram whilst on a conference call—t’s called multitasking, Johan, not slacking off—and I came across a photo you shared with the world. A crisp, black and white shot of you in a fedora, gazing intently at something out of frame, wearing a signature blazer with your signature rock 'n roll vibe. It was everything we’ve come to expect from you. Everything, that is, minus one very important feature: your epic, storied, glorious beard.
It was jarring, like seeing Christina Aguilera without a full face of makeup or seeing Christina Aguilera with a full face of makeup. And the caption below read, “Maybe it’s time to shave off the beard again…xx Johan.”
No it is not time to shave off the beard again…xx Steve!
Johan, this is a mistake. First of all, your beard is awesome. It’s kind of wild, gives you a rebellious air of Euro laissez-faire grooming which I, for one, can appreciate and it also makes you look like you might be magical.
Not only that, Johan, but it’s your signature look! And it’s working for you. People recognize you around the world for that thing. You and your beard lounging at the feet of Ian Velardi in the GQ x GAP ads. You and your beard greeting customers outside the BLK DNM shop. You and your beard enjoying some hang time with noted thespian Justin Timberlake.
Speaking of beards, tell JT I said congrats on his impending nuptials.
Changing your look is a dangerous thing—just ask Skinny Jonah Hill or that girl from Felicity who cut her hair and then no one ever saw her again. Or, more appropriately, ask Alex Trebek. When Alex Trebek showed up on my television without his mustache, he didn’t even look human. Without his bristly whiskers, Trebek’s upper lip seemed as vast as his knowledge of Potent Potables and as barren as his sense of humor. It all felt so strange and foreign. I cried, Johan. Cried real pretend tears.
Ultimately, JL, it’s your face and you can do as you please. It’s not that you’d look bad with your beard. It’s just that your beard has come to represent a lot of things to a lot of people. Things like hope, freedom, and a quicker morning routine. All weighty topics and all equally important.
So it’s time to make a choice, Johan. A very important, not at all trivial or inconsequential choice.
And for the record, feelings of masculine inadequacy that the most I can grow is a scruff of varying thickness has nothing to do with my strong feelings about this point, I swear.
Steve Dool is a writer based in New York City. Follow him on Twitter.