Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Bristled Presidential Physiognomy, Part 1: O' Wooly Pioneer

There are few things that lift my spirits on glum days more than the sight of excellent presidential facial hair. Sadly, Washington political culture has long since abandoned the acceptance of grizzly executive maws. I consider such relinquishment to be an incredible loss for the Spirit of America, which likely cries out in sorrowful howls for the days when our handsomest male politicians could openly sport a goat without instantly being labeled a Marxist. The course of presidential facial hair is an interesting one, and it all started with the fuzzy, delicious muttonchops of Martin Van Buren. (If you thought, "What about J.Q. Adams' sideburns?" then you should slap yourself. Every professional historian knows that those were both pitiful and fake.)
Star-Spangled Sideburns

This former Secretary of State, Vice-President to Andrew Jackson, and 8th American President was an impressive political figure in his time, but let's skip all that and focus on what his Wampa Paws achieved for the United States and its people. Because he was a widower during his tenure as VP, Martin's facial hair was dubbed "Hannah's Eaton-Your-Head" after his late wife Hannah and the era's most controversial social figure, Peggy Eaton. Upon assuming the face of the presidency in 1837, the "Little Magician's" "Big Enchantments" solved the Panic of 1837 of their own free will through sheer intimidation. The so-called "most terrifying crisis of the time" shrunk back into the speculative minds that created it, cowering at the frightening sight of two disembodied velutinous monstrosities charging into the Second Bank of the United States with horrifying glares in its nonexistent eyes. This legendary act of bravery and surprising sentience cemented the Executive Fluff as a popular folk hero.

Advising President Van Buren, Martin's Muttons crafted a series of lower tariffs and even convinced the commander-in-chief to engage in diplomacy with Mexico instead of armed conflict. Although the Sensational Sideburns protested, Van Buren continued Andrew Jackson's genocidal Indian Policy and the president presided over the continuation of the Trail of Tears as well as the carrying-on of the Second Seminole War. Disapproving but undyingly loyal, Hannah's Eaton-Your-Head stayed with Martin until the end of his term in 1841, after which the two parted ways. Van Buren replaced his facial hair with bushels of tangible sadness during his 1848 third-party presidential bid, although these frizzy impressions proved to be less politically adept than his former cranium companion. While the 8th president was blamed in his time for the nation's economic problems, his facial hair remained popular with the voting public despite its retirement from political life. Because hair is immortal, these particular facial adornments now live in Hollywood where it is the most famous hair-acter actor of the silver screen, most notably for its work as Wolverine's feral fuzz in the X-Men films. Truly, this 'Chops-in-Chief was a trailblazer for all future presidential facial hair.

"I stood as a bright light for the nation in dark times and now I sleep on piles of Andrew Jackson's face." - Hannah's Eaton-Your-Head, 2009.


  1. I agree with all of this so much.
    I've stumbled upon a path that I'll explore for the rest of my life: mutton chops. Wolverine was my original inspiration and who I've modeled mine after, the starter drug. As I grow them out further, the "Executive Fluff" is a new and exciting option. Thanks, Martin and Wolverine, for the inspiration.

    Any facial hair can be done badly and is a bit risky, some more than others. Google image "mutton chops", and you will see many pictures which I find distasteful, mainly due to blunt edges. However, when done right, they look stylish, wise, rugged, and warm, and they free up the front of your face to be expressive, familiar, and eat sloppy foods. I could go on.

    1. Proper mutton chops are a distinguished way to tell the world that you are a gentleman (or gentlewoman) of class and prestige. However, grooming a superior set of chops into something that can rightfully be dubbed "Executive Fluff" is a challenge that only exceptional humans can achieve.