Point/Counterpoint is a recurring feature on BDCwire that explores the pros and cons of various parts of life in Boston. These arguments may, or may not, break any new ground, but are meant as a starting point for you too to make an argument. What do you think? Is lumbersexual a thing, or should blogs and trendspotters stop pretending?
Jerard Fagerberg, arguing in favor of Lumbersexuality
Let me begin this argument by saying that the term “Lumbersexual” does not exist. As Luke O’Neil, who’s been known to take the contrary argument from time to time, said, it’s a made-up term for hipsters with beards. By extension, no one has ever called South Boston “SoBo,” but that didn’t stop the New York Times from pretending it was a common nickname. Worse, Lumberjack is a bad portmanteau – it sounds like someone who gets wood from, well, wood.
Anyway, when I grew a beard (pictured above), I did so because I figured it’d be less of a hassle than shaving. Razors are expensive and you gotta get the dude from CVS to help you open the case, which is just a pain in the ass. But I learned that beards are necessarily high-maintenance. They require a metrosexual-esque level of care. My napkin expenditures have shot through the roof since I retired my Schick, and, if I don’t regiment when I wash, condition, and oil my beard, I get dandruff. Having a beard is, contrary to how it may look, a costly responsibility. Did you know jojoba oil is like $40 a gallon? I think the root problem is that people assume the bearded ranks are lazy and unkempt. We’re among the most kempt men in any given city, and that’s not a new trend.
Kevin Slane, arguing against Lumbersexuality
Look, I’ll be brief. Lumbersexual is not a thing. I don’t care if this pointless buzzword stays confined to Jezebel and Refinery 29 or if the New York Times writes a 5,000-word trend piece on burgeoning lumbersexuality in Bed-Stuy, it is Not. A. Thing. To put it in terms the Buzfeed readers of the world understand: STOP TRYING TO MAKE LUMBERSEXUAL HAPPEN!
Though publications have dressed up the definition — “His backpack carries a MacBook Air, but looks like it should carry a lumberjack’s axe,” says GearJunkie — the crux of the lumbersexual aesthetic seems to be that two timeless male fashion trends (beards and layers) are having a slight resurgence, so the only logical response is to create a new buzzword to define a look that has existed in perpetuity for over a century.
I have nothing against beards, the outdoors, LL Bean, chopping wood, or these great United States of America, which is exactly why I’m taking a stand against the promulgation of the lumbersexual gospel. I went to college in Wisconsin, where the first day of hunting season was an unofficial school holiday, and blaze orange vests were a requirement to survive sub-zero temperatures, not a fashion statement.
But some part of the lumbersexual definition seems to suggest co-opting a Midwestern fashion sense without living a true outdoorsman life. As someone who lived in Wisconsin, wore flannel, and never once went hunting, I guess that makes ME a lumbersexual.
Wow. I’m sort of having a breakthrough here. I guess deep-down I always knew what I was, but never said it out loud. Hold on, I’ve got a phone call to make…
“Mom? Dad? I’m… I’m a lumbersexual. I’ve been seeing a piece of pressure-treated plywood from the Home Depot for six months and we’re in love.”