It’s a style you’re likely to come across wherever you are in the world – one of the popular of all time. But is there a specific “type” of man that chooses to wear one? When it comes down to it, what does a goatee say about a man?
A goatee says that a man appreciates tidy, timeless styles where attention to detail is essential. It can also say that his style choice is an attempt to compensate for patchy cheek hair or even to elongate the face shape.
Although that’s the gist, there’s more to it my friend.
When it comes to styles this common, it can be hard to pinpoint specific patterns, trends, and traits. It just seems like everyone is doing it.
But when you look close enough, you can learn a lot about a man from the facial hairstyle he chooses – goatees are no different.
I’m about to go through 8 things you could reasonably assume about a man from his choice to grow a goatee.
Let’s get to it.
8 Things A Goatee Says About A Man
Remember, a goatee refers to any style that has hair on the chin but not on the cheeks.
Not all of the points you’re about to read will be relevant to every single goateed man. But there’s a good chance that at least some of them will be.
Whether you’re deciding whether to grow a goatee or not, or you’ve already got one and just want to know more – read on.
1. He Pays Attention To Detail
Let’s put it this way.
In some ways, styling a goatee is harder than grooming a full beard.
Controversial? Maybe. But hear me out:
When it comes to styling a modern goatee, there’s not much room for error. You’re very often dealing with stubble goatees where the hair is < 5mm long and even slight asymmetry is noticeable.
Getting the right shape is a lot harder than people initially think.
A common mistake is the dreaded “narrow goatee” which occurs when men shape the edges too vertical. Good goatee edges curve gently outwards, following the angle of the upper lip down to the chin.
Trimming a good goatee neckline is also easier said than done. Leaving it too high will give you an awkward double-chin appearance. On the other hand, trim it too low and you might as well grow a neckbeard.
To cut a long story short, a man that chooses to shape and style a goatee needs to be meticulous.
He takes the time to trim it down, define the edges, and set the neckline just right.
The goatee aficionados take it to a pro-level with a straight razor.
Ultimately, if you’re more of a rough-and-ready type of beardsman who prefers brushing and oiling as opposed to shaping and defining, the goatee probably isn’t for you. Go for a fuller beard style instead.
2. He Appreciates Neatness
There are few styles as effortlessly neat and tidy as the goatee.
This is the main reason behind its versatility. It’s widely accepted in most workplaces and complies with almost every dress code you can think of.
A well-groomed goatee just has a distinct air of professionalism to it.
It’s pretty likely that a man that chooses to rock a goatee knows this full well. Because of this, a goatee often says that a man values neatness and tidiness.
Men that go for goatees often shave the cheeks and neck completely clean to give additional prominence to the goatee itself.
This gives most well-maintained goatees a very clean-cut look – more so than other facial hairstyles.
Does it go further?
If a man pays this much attention and time to make his facial hair look so neat, there’s a good chance he does the same in his personal life.
Organized, tidy, meticulous.
Of course, this won’t be true of all men. But for some, it most definitely will be.
3. He Takes Grooming Seriously
There’s no such thing as an “accidental goatee”.
You can get accidental stubble – just don’t shave for a few days.
You can even get an accidental full beard – just don’t shave for a few weeks.
But an accidental goatee? Nope. No such thing.
A goatee could never be accidental because without at least a little bit of shaping and styling you won’t achieve a style that even resembles an actual goatee.
In order to grow a beard with hair on the chin but not on the cheeks (i.e a goatee), you need to make the active decision to remove the cheek hair. This is usually done by shaving.
It takes time and energy and could never be considered accidental.
Men that choose to style goatees take their grooming seriously enough to make this conscious attempt at shaping their facial hair.
Not every man is cut out for it. Even fewer men will actually spend their valuable minutes doing it.
So, when you see a man that has made the active decision to grow a goatee, there’s a good chance he actually takes grooming seriously.
This is one of those traits that you can extrapolate further.
If a man takes his facial hair grooming seriously, there’s a good chance he’ll take his other style choices seriously too.
He probably styles his hair. He probably knows the loafers and Oxfords.
He may even have a watch collection.
He cares about this stuff and he wants you to know it.
As I mentioned earlier, you can say a lot about a man from his choice of facial hair. Goatees are definitely no different.
4. He Appreciates Timeless Styles
When I say “timeless”, I really do mean timeless.
I’m not talking about decades or even centuries.
The goatee made a name for itself in the days of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It crops up in artwork ranging from medieval times to the Renaissance.
Fast forward to the 1940s and it grew wildly popular thanks to the beatnik generation before slowly falling out of favor over the decades to come.
Fast forward a little more to the 1990s and it makes an unexpected comeback the likes of which hasn’t really been seen in facial hair history before.
Since then, it’s shown no signs of slowing down. It’s become a style so embedded within global popular culture that you’d be hard-pressed to find a place in the world where you won’t come across it.
The goatee is timeless. It transcends time and geography.
Because of this, it’s really hard to go wrong with it.
In an era where men’s style trends are given mainstream attention like never before thanks to social media influencers and the internet, throwaway styles are a dime a dozen.
Sure, skin fades are great – but are they going to be popular 100 years from now? Who knows.
Goatees, on the other hand, have proven themselves to be resilient beyond belief.
Resistant to cyclical changes in trends. It may fall out of favor for a few years, but you better believe it’ll be back.
5. He’s Elongating His Face
The goatee is a great style to choose if you’re looking to elongate the face.
That’s the beauty of having hair on the chin but not on the cheeks.
The eyes of onlookers are drawn downward toward the chin because it’s given so much prominence. As a result, it has a slimming and lengthening effect, making a round or short face look just a tad longer.
That’s why goatees are great for round faces. They make ‘em look slimmer and longer like few other styles do.
The longer the goatee style, the more pronounced this effect. Choosing the right goatee length is crucial – definitely take the shape of your face into consideration.
Men who already have pretty long face shapes (eg. oblong) would be better off going for a stubble goatee or a different beard style altogether.
For these men, there’s a good chance that a goatee would simply make the face look even longer.
Bald men often choose the goatee as their style of choice and there’s a good reason for this.
Head shape is important when you’re bald because you haven’t got hair on top to adjust the shape of the face.
The roundness at the top can often make a head look rounder than it ever did back when there was hair on it.
A good way to combat this common phenomenon is to elongate the face using a beard style instead. A goatee is a great option here.
6. He Has Patchy Cheek Growth
The dreaded cheek patchiness is unfortunate but extremely common.
It’s incredible just how many aspiring beardsmen reach for the razor out of sheer frustration that their cheeks just don’t fill in.
Sure, there are “awkward phases” of growth in any bearded journey. The 3-4 week mark is pretty notorious.
But some men just don’t fill their cheeks in no matter how long they give it.
The simplest and most painless solution to this problem is to simply style it out.
In other words, choose a style that simply doesn’t require any hair on the cheeks in the first place.
Given the fact that goatees are – by definition – any style where there’s hair on the chin but not on the cheeks, they seem like the obvious option for men with patchy and stubborn cheeks.
Of course, not all aspiring beardsmen will like this option. They’d rather have a full beard with wispy cheek hair than a goatee and that’s absolutely fine.
Goatees are by no means for everyone.
But if you feel like you’re in a rut with your beard because you just can’t get your cheeks to cooperate, strongly consider whether or not a goatee would be an option for you.
You simply shave off the troublesome cheek hair and devote all of your valuable time and attention to the thicker areas of growth – the chin and mustache area.
Men who aren’t fans of shaving probably won’t appreciate this option either. But if you’re willing to put up with the maintenance it could be a simple and stress-free solution to cheek patchiness.
7. He Has An Artistic Edge
The goatee really came to prominence in the 1940s after being adopted as the style of choice for beatnik poets, along with the soul patch.
Since then, the goatee has always had a bit of an artistic flair.
In fact, it was the rock stars and TV actors of the 1990s that spearheaded its second wave.
Perhaps the association with the arts isn’t quite as strong as that of the soul patch, but the goatee is way more socially accepted in the modern era.
While soul patches show no signs of making a comeback any time soon, the goatee is still very much in trend.
If you’re looking for a style with just a tad of artistic flair, the goatee would be a great choice.
It isn’t just the historic links.
Men that want to style a goatee do need a bit of artistic ability in order to style it in the first place. A well-shaped goatee needs an eye for detail and an appreciation for aesthetics.
The Van Dyke is a goatee variation that needs this even more.
Not everyone has it in them.
8. He May Have A Villainous Streak
Here’s a fun one.
From ancient paintings to Hollywood movies, the goatee has always been used to signify a character as mean.
It’s a common stylistic device used to make a villain look like a villain.
This curious phenomenon has been researched more extensively than you’d think was necessary or even a good use of time. But why do goatees make a man look morally questionable?
The jury’s out on this one. But there’s evidence to suggest that it’s because human beings view downward-facing triangles as threatening (source).
A goatee – characterized by there being hair on the chin but not on the cheeks – does make a face look more like a downward-facing triangle.
Because of this, you could reasonably assume that a goatee does make a man look more threatening.
Nonsense? Perhaps. But you can’t deny the association between goatees and villainous characters throughout recorded history.
Ultimately, this isn’t one to pay too much attention to. The thought of looking at a man with a goatee and making an assumption about his moral character is illogical at best.
But if you’ve styled yourself a goatee and notice an unusually threatening appearance during your first mirror-check, there may well be some science behind it.
As I mentioned, not all of these traits can be assumed to be true for every single goateed man out there.
But if you were ever in doubt about your current or future choice to style a goatee, consider the points above before you commit.
By the way, if you’re looking to learn more about goatees, check out the many other goatee articles I’ve written too.