(Editor's note: What follows is an old post I wrote about a year ago when I was trying to gain some support for a beard I was growing. It never saw the light of day, but I always kind of liked it. The beard is possibly coming back, so I thought it was a good time to throw it out on a Saturday.)
Winter is approaching. We'll be wearing heavier clothes, thicker layers...preparations must be made. Shaving 10 pounds off the bod is something we could probably all use after a summer of pounding beer and barbecue.
The problem with most diets is that they ask you to eat less, eat better, exercise, drink less and generally alter your lifestyle. Why do something when you can do nothing? Growing a beard literally requires you to do nothing...in fact, it actually requires you to do less than the nothing you already do, since you are eliminating a task in the mornings you would otherwise participate in every day. Enter the Washington Redskins Beard Diet, for men. I have carefully crafted a step-by-step process that will give you the benefit of looking AT LEAST 5-10 pounds lighter. If you follow these simple instructions, you are sure to hear the following remarks:
"Have you lost weight?"
"You have been working out!"
"I barely recognize you!"
"Sir, please put your pants back on."
I bring you...the Washington Redskins Beard Diet.
Step 1: You'll need to grow a beard. This step is harder for some guys than others. Here's the good news: We're starting this beard now, so you will have the time to allow it to grow in. You may have read that "beards are back". However, you would be surprised at how many people will openly comment that your beard is disgusting. We're talking about people with weight problems, misbehaving kids, facial scars, rage issues, whorish tendencies, and miserable hygiene--the last people in the world who should be throwing stones. Yet a beard in its infancy stages seems to engender entitlement in these people. And it is at this point that you need to draw on your experience as a Washington Redskins fan for the first time. (After all, there is no diet out there that does not have some kind of accompanying psychological component.) Remember the Norv Turner era? That was no walk in the park. Miserably mediocre teams, the wrongful jettisoning of Charley Casserly, a steady parade of the worst kickers to ever lace them up...and Heath Shuler. You made it through that didn't you? You are strong. Draw on that strength.
Step 2: Fight through the itchy stage.The beard is going to be itchy. It is going to hurt you some days. It is going to hurt your wife/girlfriend. You are going to get laid 95% less than your pre-beard days. But it is a long-term plan. You have to think of it as such. Were Bruce Smith, Mark Carrier and Deion Sanders the quick fixes we needed to win a Super Bowl? How about Adam Archuleta and Brandon Lloyd? These short-sighted moves by Dan Snyder set the franchise back considerably, keeping us from building on younger, fresher talent at those skill positions. Similarly, aborting the beard in its early phases sets you and your plan to look great back by a lot. You made it through Rich Gannon, Cary Conklin, Heath Shuler, John Friesz, Gus Frerotte, Jeff Hostetler, Trent Green, Brad Johnson, Rodney Peete, Jeff George, Tony Banks, Kent Graham, Shane Matthews, Patrick Ramsey, Danny Wuerffel, Tim Hasselbeck, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, Mark Brunell and Rob Johnson. You can make it through a scratchy Halloween.
People will always be asking you why you are growing your beard. This is funny because they don't need a reason for putting ranch dressing on everything they eat, but they need you to provide them a reason for why you are letting your facial hair grow. So give them one. I like to go with "playoff beard", since the Skins will undoubtedly be bubblicious by mid-November. Sure, some might think it is an odd reason to sport uneven and sometimes pube-like hair on your face, but then again, I think it's odd that some people's breath smells like fish, ALL THE TIME. (Seriously, how is "fish" your default breath smell?)
Okay. So the Redskins aren't looking playoff-bound and your beard is really bad. You have not trimmed it at all (Step 2A--don't trim it at all). You're going to have to use the winter as your cover. Now you're "growing a face-warmer". Lucky for you, a black knit hat and sunglasses, combined with a ratty, patchy beard offers a serious street cred-building look. You will hear people complement your "gangster" look, or your "hoodlum" fashion statement. You will know your beard is finally getting to where it needs to be when they throw their arms in the air pretending to be robbed by you whenever they see you. That's right...the same white people who claim they voted for Obama will blow through every racial stereotype in the book because of a measly beard. Not only are you "dieting", you're getting a sociology lesson.
Step 3: Reap the reward. Every day you considered shaving the beard. You probably even told people--without provocation--that you were going to shave the beard the next day or "very soon". But then it happens. It could be at work, or around your wife's friends, or at the place you buy coffee from every day. Someone is going to look at you and ask, "Have you lost weight?"
Do you know how fat Zach Galifianakis would look without his beard? Or Fidel Castro? You have not cut out a SINGLE fatty food. Instead of drinking less, you are probably even drinking more, because a beard and a cold beer go together better than John Riggins and...a cold beer. You have all but stopped working out since the beard acts as a wet towel around your face, locking in sweat and heat to make you pretty much as miserable as the day you watched Michael Westbrook throw off his helmet on the field of play to all but ensure a 7-7 tie against the New York Giants. And yet, somehow you appear thinner?
Your beard has now shaved pounds off of your frame. Who knows why? Maybe you have a fat chin. Maybe you have a fat neck. Maybe you weigh 300 pounds. But that beard is somehow convincing people you have lost weight. People as in girls. Only thing is...
...you do appear thinner and more attractive, but they want nothing to do with your beard.