Dear Goatee Wearers

Face facts - your feeble sproutings make you look neither mean nor moody, but more like Shaggy from Scooby Doo. And women deserve better than partners who look like the Head Gremlin

Why do you do it? Do you think that women actually want to be seen with somebody who looks like he would be happier tethered in the back yard with the lid left off the bin? It takes us some time to sort out which way up your heads are, and any closer investigation leaves us with debilitating "goatee rash' - a red blush of sympathetic shame for a partner's chin crime.

The motive for your goatees may lie in some perverse Freudian logic. Sensitive twenty-somethings such as Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt are getting to the stage of wanting to grow up to be virile like their daddies. But if you want to look reproductive, why not grow a fully potent beard? Beards, like bulging sets of keys, beer bellies and back hair, are warning signals for a dangerous cargo of unexploded testosterone within. Stunted little sproutings only make you look more fifth-form than ever - like Shaggy from Scooby Doo, or as if you had played the magnetic iron filings game on your face.

You see, goatees don't really succeed in making you look either mean or moody. The mean look is for all the little boys who grew up idolising Ron Moody playing Fagin with a goatee in Oliver. Brian Harvey of East 17 tries hard at this, yet with tufts on both head and chin he ends up looking like the Head Gremlin. These growths make my fingers itch to wrench them off like some dirty old sticking plaster, then give the boy a sweetie for being so brave.

The moody look is best modelled by Bob Geldof. The carefully shaved hairy spikes on his face symbolise his anger at Western consumerist greed. And really, you do have to have a special kind of awe for a man who is willing to make himself look like the special cress-growing version of Mr Potato Head for the sake of Third World issues. The problem with this version is that it tries for the alternative "isn't-life-hard-enough-without-having- to-shave-my-chin?" look, but ends up with the effete "I-am-a-demented- faun-obsessed-by-my-own-image" thing instead.

Goatees are the badge of the vain. They have no purpose, and don't even have the residual ruggedness of most facial hair. If you have to ask: "Is that a beard or did you just drop your moustache?", people are not going to be afraid of you.

They must be stopped. If male hair fashions continue to mutate so horribly, from pony tails to sideburns to goatees, women can only dread the future. The return of the handlebar moustache? Or will the screen idols of tomorrow all be clones of John McCririck on Channel 4 racing?

Don't men realise that women go to all the trouble of shaving off their armpit hair to make the world a better place, not so that men will stick it back on to their chins? If Gillette is the best a man can get, a goatee is surely the worst a woman deserves.

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