I had a crazy nightmare. In it, sexy Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey was trying to sell me a Lincoln Navigator as his flowing facial hair flapped in my face. As my mind swam toward alertness, I realized with a sense of horror that the nighttime drama was real.
The quirky actor, 45, a TV pitchman for Lincoln motor vehicles, has lately let his face become overtaken by flamboyant follicles. Some observers of male beefcake think that beards such as McConaughey’s make men look masculine.
I think that they make guys look like terrorists.
Everywhere these days, from Hollywood red carpets to the hipster-heavy hangouts of New York City, men are letting their facial hair flow as promiscuously as the intimate favors of Duke University porn star Belle Knox.
Beards. Some see them as expressions of virility. I see them as the property of the Amish. (Apologies to the many fine Amish men whose rejection of technology and electric shavers is well documented.)
But what’s Bradley Cooper’s excuse for turning his face into a recruitment poster for a prison break?
The 40-year-old superstar showed up in Los Angeles last month to lose the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the flick “American Sniper” while brandishing several days’ hair growth around his chin — prompting my husband and me to shout at the TV in unison, “Couldn’t you shave?’’
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, 40. is sporting gnarly underbrush above his neck that goes nicely with his new Santa Claus belly.
It’s not just American men who give off mountain-man vibes. British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, 37, star of the 2013 movie “12 Years a Slave,’’ lately looks as if a gerbil is taking a nap below his nose.
Don’t be fooled, guys. A beard makes a man’s face look dirtier, not thinner.
Whether it’s a silly soul patch, a mischievous goatee, a slick Van Dyke or the luxuriant locks of a cast member of the TV reality show “Duck Dynasty,’’ beards have become a thing.
Men seem to use them to stick their middle fingers at shaven authority. A beard says, “I’m too important to care if my kisses burn you in sensitive places.’’
Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant, among other 19th-century presidents, wore beards proudly. But as the decades came and went, so did leaders’ facial hair. President John F. Kennedy didn’t go out bearing as much as a five o’clock shadow. Ronald Reagan’s face was devoid of whiskers when he acted in Hollywood and after he left for the California governor’s mansion and the White House. President Obama, 53, is meticulously clean-shaven. When Bill de Blasio, 53, ran for mayor of New York in 2013, he wisely whacked off his scruffy beard, and he won the race.
I miss the days of smooth-jawed screen studs Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper. If guys are trying to look macho, they’re only succeeding in looking homeless.
“They look like farmers or Hells Angels, no offense to farmers or Hells Angels,’’ celebrity stylist Oksana Pidhorekyj, who dresses TV performers, told me. “I see these attractive men with overgrown beards and I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’ ’’
Beard-haters like me make exceptions for Hasidim and other Orthodox Jews, whose beards are expressions of faith.
Some actors have gone the other way, at least for roles. Jared Leto, 43, who won an Oscar for his supporting role in “Dallas Buyers Club,’’ endured a shave of his messy beard and had the lanky hair on his head cut short — and bleached blond — to play The Joker in the coming movie “Suicide Squad.’’ And British actor Andrew Lincoln, 41, who grew a bushy beard to play Rick Grimes in “The Walking Dead,’’ shaved his face on camera, drawing attention to his piercing blue eyes. It was exciting to watch.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus won’t be known as “The Greatest Show on Earth’’ much longer. The traveling home of world-class clowns, animal acts and death-defying human feats is packing up its pachyderms. By 2018, elephants won’t appear in Ringling shows.
Animal-rights nuts from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals declared victory, but circus owners said that dropping the super-sized creatures from shows for the first time since P.T. Barnum exhibited them in 1870 is due to demands from some customers who believe unproven claims that the animals are mistreated. And laws in some parts of the United States forbid elephant acts.
Thirteen jumbo performers are to retire alongside 29 elephants now living at an animal preserve in Florida, although some smaller circuses will still feature the beasts.
I fear that without the sanctuary of a major circus, the majestic animals will be threatened with death.
Better never than late
“Worst mayor ever! Worst mayor ever!’’ Onlookers gave the thumbs-down sign and chanted as habitually tardy Mayor de Blasio showed up a half-hour late for the 1 p.m. start of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the Rockaways Saturday. He blamed the delay on a late-running meeting at Gracie Mansion.
It was just another Queens diss after a “very rough night’’ caused de Blasio to arrive late and miss a moment of silence at a memorial ceremony in nearby Belle Harbor last year for victims of the 2001 Flight 587 plane crash.
Stop inviting the mayor to events, people.
We’d all be a lot less disappointed.
A NY fashion Cloo for Amal
Amal Clooney, 37 — who has moved to New York while husband George Clooney, 53, films a movie in the city and on Long Island — has another reason to slum it in this town. The human-rights lawyer is going to lecture at Columbia Law School in Manhattan this spring as a fellow with the school’s Human Rights Institute, reported Emily Smith of The Post’s Page Six.
This city is about to look a lot more chic — as long as Amal Clooney loses the unsightly white, elbow-length gloves that she wore to this year’s Golden Globes awards ceremony.
Mayor Alec all the rage
If rageaholic actor Alec Baldwin were mayor of New York City, he’d rough up photographers and launch Twitter attacks against cops who dare to ticket him for riding his bicycle the wrong way on a one-way street. Wait! He’s already done that.
Baldwin, 56, who’s flirted with the idea of running for mayor, is to play a leftist billionaire real-estate developer and divorced dad who moves into City Hall in an as-yet-untitled TV series for HBO.
At least pretending to be mayor might keep him safely off the streets.
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Celebutards –The Hollywood Hacks, Limousine Liberals, and Pandering Politicians Who Are Destroying America
Andrea Peyser is a columnist for the New York Post, writing on the social and political issues important to Americans.
Her commentary has brought her awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and Columnist of the Year from the New York State Associated Press