There is a lot of talk on the Internet about “neckbeards”, usually used as a pejorative. I get messages from men saying they don’t want to grow a beard because their school mates will make fun of them and call them neckbeards, and I frequently see memes denigrating what are usually fat men wearing fedoras as neckbeards. I’m going to tackle this issue by separating the actual neck beard (a beard that grows on your neck) from the anti-social personality aspects of being “a neckbeard”.
The Actual Hair on Your Neck
In addition to the face, many men grow hair on their necks. Men who wear short beards tend to shave their necks, because they are trying to get a neat beard look. However, men with long beards have no need to shave their necks. As the beard grows, it eventually completely covers the neck, obscuring any hair that might grow there. It also becomes much more difficult to shave your neck where you have a long beard, and for this reason, most men with long beards do not shave their neck beards.
Neck beards used to be in-style. One of my 54 beard styles is called the Chin Curtain, which is a beard style that has been used by men for centuries. It involves shaving all the hair on your face except that which grows under your chin–thus, your neck–and up to your sideburns. Chin Curtains are actually hard to grow. Not every man can grow a thick, full neck-beard, let alone one that continues unbroken up the cheeks and sideburns.
I recommend Chin Curtains be worn by only those men who have thick and full beard growth, and who want to try something rather unique. For men with thin and patchy beard growth, the Chin Curtain is not the style for you.
And this brings us to the etymological root of the phrase “neckbeard”. Young men who are growing beards for the first time tend to grow them slowly. They come in patchy at first. This is especially noticeable on the necks of men who are fat, because fat men’s necks can’t be hidden by chins. Thus, young fat men who are growing beards for the first time and who are socially awkward have been dubbed “neckbeards” by their mockers. While not all neckbeards are fat, many are, and they have become iconic of the subculture.
Let me start by saying that I am fat. I’m not trying to make fun of fat men with this blog post, because I know the struggle. What I want to hone in on are certain personality quirks that neckbeards exhibit that move them from the “fat men with beards” category to the “neckbeards” category.
To be blunt, neckbeards are not the kind of men we want to be, because neckbeards fail at the social challenges of life that lead to success. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I inevitably will because no one wants their lifestyle challenged. This guide is not for those who are happy being neckbeards. I’m writing this as an honest, helpful guide for those young men who are neckbeards and don’t want to be–who inexplicably find themselves living as neckbeards and don’t know how they got there, and who want out. To do so, I’ll break neckbeardism down into it’s five basic pillars.
1) Awkwardness Around Women
Neckbeards are awkward around women because they have no experience with them. Healthy boys grow up with at least some limited interest from girls. This interest gives them some experience and confidence around women, enabling them to be successful with women as young adults. Neckbeards, being fat, pimply, or having some other imperfection, grow up with no interest from the opposite sex. This robs them of the social education they need at a young age to know how to act around women. Even neckbeards with sisters and female cousins still lack this necessary education growing up, because behavior around female family and potential romantic partners is, obviously, completely different.
This awkwardness manifests as over-politeness, which is often mocked by others using words like “m’ilady” and other archaic language. Neckbeards make the mistake of thinking that being nice to girls will get you a girlfriend. Instead, this locks them firmly in the friend-zone. Out of desperation, and fear of being rejected, neckbeards remain overly friendly and accommodating, which is great for making friends, but very bad for making romantic relationships because women, like men, want partners who are confident. Confidence and honesty are bedmates. A confident man will tell a woman what he actually thinks. This truthfulness is an attractive quality. A neckbeard with no confidence will tell a woman what he thinks she wants to hear. This is the opposite of honesty–it is cunning, which is an unattractive quality.
Sometimes neckbeards go too far the other way and become cocky, arrogant, and rude. These behaviors come from the same place as shyness–inexperience with women. A neckbeard’s arrogance makes his own inexperience obvious, completely backfiring on him and making him undesirable.
For fat neckbeards who are awkward around women, the cure is not easy, but it is simple, and there are two steps. The first step is to not care what women think of you. This doesn’t mean that you are rude. You are polite, but you pursue other things that interest you without caring what others think. If you truly don’t care what a woman thinks about you, then this gives you the confidence to ask her out. If she says no, you are not crushed, because you have no fear of rejection. If she says yes, you don’t make a big deal out of it. You treat her with respect and courtesy. You understand that you both are trying to get something out of this relationship (respect, companionship, admiration, honesty), and you not only give it, but you expect it. If you don’t expect it, then you open the door to being walked all over and eventually pushed into the friend zone.
Here’s the second step: lose weight. I say this as a fat man. I know how hard it is to lose weight. I realize that it is much easier said than done. But the harsh reality is that healthy men find romance easier than fat men, and they have many more options.
Neckbeards are often accused of having poor hygiene. This is often an untrue stereotype–neckbeards can have excellent hygiene–but neckbeards give the appearance of having poor hygiene by wearing thin, patchy beards, and suffering from the side effects of obesity, which include acne, excess sweating, and bad breath.
The only fix for the side effects of obesity is to lose weight–a topic I won’t cover here (as I am unfit to do so!). However, I can help you with your beard.
While I respect your decision to grow a beard, I encourage you to shave every day until your beard comes in full. Young men, in their excitement to finally be growing whiskers, tend to leave unsightly patches on their chins and cheeks, and thin, scraggly mustaches. These do not look good, and many people will mistake your conscious decision to grow a beard as simple lack of hygiene. Instead, shave with a straight razor until your beard starts growing in full–which should happen in your early 20s.
If you are a grown man and you still have a patchy beard, then read my guide to growing a full beard. In short, there are a few things you can do:
- Minoxidil. Minoxidil (Lipogaine) is a natural substance that dilates your capillaries, bringing more nutrients from your blood to your follicles. If you have follicles on your face, using minoxidil every day will cause you to grow a beard, no matter your age. It takes months of use before you see an effect, and you have to use it forever, but it works. Read my guide to beard growth serum for more info.
- Beard growth vitamins. Use beard growth vitamins if your diet is unhealthy, or you feel like your beard is patchy due to your bad diet. Read my guide for more info.
- Testosterone. Many men lack testosterone, especially those who don’t do much physical activity. Ask your doctor if you need to take a testosterone supplement. I recommend TestWorx. Also, here is a great guide on how to boost your testosterone naturally without drugs.
3) Lack of Style
Neckbeards are ignorant about style, mainly because only a small percentage of clothing can fit them. It is hard for a man of style to be fat. Go into any department store and take a look at the clothing available to “Big & Tall” men–tshirts, polo shirts, and jeans. That’s it. Slacks, dress shirts, sweaters; none of them fit. This is why you see neckbeards in their stereotypical style: jeans and tshirts.
Neckbeards wear fedoras for sheer lack of clothing options. The only items of clothing they can wear like everyone else on earth are hats and shoes, so they go ape-snot bonkers and wear fedoras with everything. The fedora has become an icon of the neckbeard because neckbeards try to wear it with everything. What they don’t realize is that fedoras are to be worn outdoors only, and only when wearing an overcoat.
Neckbeards in fedoras look silly in the same way a man in a tshirt and a top hat would look silly. The tophat is an archaic hat style, that is typically only worn for formal occasions like weddings. Fedoras are also an archaic hat style, but even when they were in their prime, they were only ever worn outside and with other outdoor clothing like overcoats.
Finally, the most popular fedora style neckbeards wear is the trilby. The trilby is a fedora with an exceedingly short brim. This hat style was originally worn by women. It is a feminine hat. So we have a fat man wearing a strange hat with a short brim, and the whole thing comes undone.
Here are some style guidelines for neckbeards:
- Get some shirts tailor-made. Stop shopping in department stores if you can’t find anything your size. Instead, buy your shirts online at Tailor4Less or Paul Fredrick, which will have dress shirts in your size.
- Never wear a hat indoors.
- If you wear a fedora, buy one with a wide brim.
- Do not wear a fedora unless you also wear an overcoat.
- Fedoras are not “better” the more stripes, feathers, badges, and other nonsense they have. Get a simple, single-color fedora, with maybe a band.
- Try cutting your hair. Long hair rarely looks good on big men.
For more tips on style, read my other blog, Scotch & Smoke Rings.
Angry atheism has become a hallmark of neckbeards. I’m not going to comment on the validity of atheism as a philosophy, but instead I’ll focus on respect. Neckbeard atheists are often depicted as being loud, rude, and crude. This behavior comes from a lack of respect for people of faith. Since neckbeards rarely find a voice in the real world (being timid, lacking confidence, and suffering from bullies), neckbeards turn to the internet to form relationships and spout ideas. One drawback to this is that, on the Internet, you rarely see the face of the person you’re talking to. This leads men to dehumanize their opponent in an argument, leading to trolling, online bullying, vulgarity, and snide, immature mockery. This behavior is justified in the mind of the neckbeard, because he really thinks of religious people (especially Christians), as stupid, and even dangerous.
Instead, neckbeards should develop respect for people they don’t agree with. This respect will likely come with age, as they are exposed to more people in the real world, and discover that people can be interesting, intelligent, and even fun to be around, even if they believe something you oppose. However, it will advance the career and social progress of a neckbeard if he learns this lesson early in life. Employers don’t like hiring men who alienate others in the office, and women find arrogance repulsive.
Finally, neckbeards tend to be Japanophiles. They love watching Japanese animation (anime). They listen to Japanese and Korean music (j-pop and k-pop), and slowly begin to identify with Japanese culture.
This is a natural reaction to being rejected by their own. Because they have failed to find respect and romance in the Western world, they turn to the East, often aided by romantic yet unrealistic depictions of Japan in anime, comics, and film. Leaning towards atheism, they think they have more in common with a culture not dominated by Christianity. They collect anime posters and figurines. They have at least one katana. Their eyes light up when you say the name Hatsune Miku. They want to date a Japanese girl, because they mistakenly think Japanese girls are more likely to date them than Western girls.
The grim reality is that if you were to pluck a neckbeard from his home and plop him down in the streets of Tokyo, he would have less success in his social relationships than he does today. While the East is fascinating, their cultures suffer from many of the same struggles found in the West, because the Japanese are human too. Japanese men and women still have to play the same cat-and-mouse romantic dance that Western men find so tiring. In fact, Japan is actually suffering from an economic decline brought on by a flatlining population and a low fertility rate. The Telegraph recently reported that 50% of Japanese don’t have sex–this includes the married.
Japan is also not an atheist country. 80% of the population practice Shintoism, a traditional religion of Japan that emphasizes ancestor worship. Another 34% practice Buddhism. If a neckbeard were to show the same kind of contempt towards these Japanese traditions as he does towards Western religion, he would deeply insult everyone around him and make few friends.
While there is nothing wrong with admiring Japanese art and culture, the problem is in abandoning reality for fantasy. It’s foolish thinking that the Japan depicted by anime is in any way real, or that somehow if only you had been born in Japan, your life would be better. Such fantasies are forms of escapism, which, though understandable, are not the aspects of a healthy personality–and are therefore unattractive to potential mates, friends, and employers.
The Long and Short of It
I don’t have it all figured out yet. Sometimes I lack confidence. Sometimes I’m too arrogant. Heck, sometimes I wear a hat indoors. I don’t offer myself as the perfect example of the anti-neckbeard, because I’m still growing. My hope is that young men who feel lost in society can use this post as a cornerstone upon which they build up their confidence, personal style, and statesmanship.
For young neckbeards that need specific steps, or don’t know where to start, here are two suggestions:
1) Focus on your career. You don’t need to have everything figured out yet, but spend your time thinking about what amazing adventures you will get into as an adult–adventures that fulfil the practical needs of your life, like salary and health care. Shadow professionals. Intern at companies that interest you, or become a trade apprentice. Research the salaries of the jobs you like best, or find people who work in those careers and befriend them. Pursue this first, and the rest will come in time.
2) While you pursue career, don’t completely block out romance. If you obsess over work too much, you may wake up in your 30s missing the children you never had and the wife and companion you never pursued. Instead, keep your options and eyes open as you live. Go out with friends when invited, and invite friends to your events. Take advantage of social opportunities at work and school. Most importantly, talk to women. Once you get used to talking to women as coworkers or classmates, you’ll find it easier to talk to women as friends, which makes it easier to pursue a woman for romance.
The only person who can rescue you from a neckbeard life in the friend-zone, is you.