For several years, a Mexican brewer has employed Boston-born actor Jonathon Goldsmith as the “most interesting man in the world” to promote its products. In the ads, the bearded, middle-aged gentleman takes note of his improbable life while sipping the trademark beer. Suggesting, one would guess, that drinking the beverage takes the consumer to a higher plane. A bit tongue-in-cheek, the commercials have become a part of our common lexicon. Whenever someone takes themselves a bit too seriously, yet still seems to be in on the joke, they might be compared to Goldsmith.
Still, they are effective in that the look and posture of the ads invite critique. Each element of the promotion is engineered to take full advantage of our nature as humans. They suggest that attractive and fascinating people have already vetted and chosen the brand as their own. But in allowing for humor, the viewer is invited to criticize the supposition. Is the hirsute hero worthy of our admiration? Do we care about his supposed adventures? But mostly, can something as pedestrian as beer drinking be interesting?
Following the lead of a local mayor’s call for No-Shave November to raise awareness for men’s health issues, many of us passed on the daily ritual for a month. In my case, it has quickly grown into two. Along with many important discussions, more encouragements, that men take care to prevent, identify and treat a variety of gender-specific cancers, the beard has invited countless unexpected opinions. Friends, family, and acquaintances feel free to comment ad hominem. A few find it a moral duty. They demand, “You look terrible – shave it promptly.” Others claim it to be “the bomb.” Thought-provoking or not, is there something incumbent to facial hair that eliminates social barrier to comment? It’s the most interesting, man.