Just Asking: Why do the alt-right wear goatees? 🐐

I wear a goatee. I wore a goatee since my college years. I have worn a goatee in honor my scientist dad who also wore a goatee. (He also wore bow-ties which is another matter.) My dad’s dad was a professor, also goated. I can pull off the appearance of an 50s beatnik/intellectual every day of the week. Now I have to worry about the damn Nazis taking over my branding.

Who also wears goatees? Hipsters, Doctor Strange, Heisenberg, Robert Downey Jr., Jesus, and the devil. and now apparently the alt-right.

The goatee is part of their uniform along with white polo shirts, khakis and tiki torches. Where Charlie Chaplin mustaches too on the nose? An old saying goes, “Don’t trust a man with a beard, he is hiding something.” What are they hiding? If we shaved off the beard, will it reveal the sad callow youth underneath? Is it a intimidation tactic to be a beatnik, hipster, intellectual devil for Jesus? Just asking.


you forgot youth pastors!


Dadwear khakis, polo shirt that doesn’t fit worn tucked in. Everything is a play at “professionalism,” but nothing actually hits the mark because none of these people are actually professionals. They’re just copying what they saw in their white, middle-class homes. Since many of these people are fairly young, they probably saw goatees a lot at home or on TV because they were in fashion when they were kids.

I’m in my early 30s, the same age as a lot of these guys, and I definitely recall the Nickelodeon TV shows and the Gilmore Girls and other 90s/aughts TV shows having ‘cool’ characters have goatees. I think it’s just a product of their upbringing.


Hmm. When I had a goatee my look ranged from blue-collar to beatnik to IT support guy circa 2000, depending on how I was dressed. Overall, I think it’s more of a blue-collar look than anything else. Think various interchangeable male country singers and Bill Engvall. It’s a “real American” look, because clean-shaven is too boring and fully bearded is a look for Millennial hipsters and Jewish folkie intellectuals. Definitely not the look an alt-righter would be going for.

Now that I mention it, the guys who don’t have goatees are completely clean-shaven. Not just an ordinary shave, where you shave every couple days or so with a disposable razor, but a barbershop straight-razor clean shave. Conspicuously clean. Most of these guys have that look. Whenever I see someone who’s extremely clean-shaven, I automatically think neo-Nazi, especially if their hair is long on top and bald-faded on the sides.

I disagree about hipsters and Jesus. The hipster look is either a mustache with no beard, or a full bushy beard. I have never seen a hipster wearing a goatee. As for Jesus, I seriously doubt the real Jesus had a goatee. Besides, the paintings I most often see of him have him with a full beard, albeit much thinner on the cheeks than around the mouth.

For sure!

What you’re describing definitely reminds me of a tech support guy from about 2000 or so. The only thing missing is the cell phone in the hip holster. I’m guessing that this is related to techbros and aspirational techbros somehow, but low-level community college techbros and not rockstar brogrammers.

As for playing at professionalism, this is what you get when you reject hip-hop influences for being too black, and reject white trash culture because it hits too close to home. You get something that approximates middle-class banality but isn’t that.

You must be a lot younger than me then. When I was growing up, some guys had facial hair and some didn’t, just like some people wear hats and others never wear hats. A man could grow a beard, but he’d better get used to having one because that makes him a “beard guy” now. It wasn’t like today when guys play around with facial hair styles a little more.

In my parents’ generation, from the 40s through the 60s, facial hair was anathema. Beards were for beatniks, commies, Jewish intellectuals (see: commies), and, later, hippies. Wearing a beard basically meant self-segregation from ordinary whitebread suburban family life.


Once upon a time, a comment briefly lived at the Other Place that called goatees “right-wing face burqas.” It was flagged into oblivion, but I feel it had a grain of uncomfortable truth to it. I see them most frequently in the rural and exurban areas around these parts, areas known to be more “conservative.” Maybe it’s a bit like PUA’s and trilby’s - a tribal marker and a visual warning for anyone who doesn’t wish to interact with hate-filled pricks.

In professional circles, it seems that the only acceptable looks right now in my “blue bubble” are clean shaven or neatly trimmed, short beard. A thing to keep in mind about clean shaven with a high-top fade is that the wearer is possibly active duty or active reserve - the military is kinda picky about facial hair.


TBH this kind of discussion seems to be an exercise in tribalism, and not everybody is on board with that. To me, there are no good stereotypes. It is still a tool of othering and exclusion.


By Jove, I think he’s got it!


I definitely still see goatees in academia. I’m in a very male-dominated field, and it’s actually very handy. If a guy has a goatee, I know something about when he grew up, and probably how he sees himself. Being able to have that kind of insight with someone is really helpful, given that a most men I interact with are older, and bigger than me, and not very willing to take direction from a lil lady (I’m in the south, if that helps). If a guy has a goatee, I can usually figure out the right old boys network signifiers to play to get on his good side.


At my college (late 80s,) beards were part of the crunchy RPG crowd.


Why do the alt-right wear goaties?

Because they’ve already ruined fedoras!


well said


This is where I see them too. They seem to be a mostly rural phenomenon. I rarely see them in the city, because they’re seldom worn by people who live in the city or who even visit the city regularly.

Is it just me, or are trilbies making a comeback? I’ve seen a lot of men of various ages wearing them, but wearing them fashionably.

Again, I think my experiences must be totally different from most of yours. I don’t associate clean-shaven with left-wing, but with unapologetic neo-Nazis. I rarely see completely clean-shaven men. The ones who don’t have beards shave with disposable razors and don’t necessarily shave every day, so they have a bit more stubble, five-o-clock shadow, etc. The old-fashioned straight-razor shave at least once a day looks conspicuously clean, and is definitely an alt-right tribal signal.

Also, I would definitely not say beards are unacceptable or unprofessional. Maybe if you work in finance and the men have to wear suits and ties, but that’s never been my work environment. I’ve had a full but neatly-trimmed beard for the better part of 20 years or so, and nobody has said anything to me.

I have worked alongside many active-duty military and veterans, and I can confirm. However, you’re describing a high and tight, not a high-top fade, which is a haircut associated with 80s hip-hop. The military look is also hard to misclassify as a civilian haircut, even though there are many civilians with short hair and no facial hair.

In this case, I think it’s justified because it’s something people use to signal to members of their own in-group that they’re the same tribe.


Beards, long hair, and oftentimes fedoras and trenchcoats. Also, and separately, with brightly-colored tie-dye or airbrushed shirts.


Sounds a bit tautological to me. Isn’t signalling who constitutes ingroup/outgroup much of how tribalism works, what it is? The regress that people risk getting sucked into is recognizing that this is what they do. I doubt if many can internalize the markers and refute tribalism at the same time, that’s quite a balancing act. Surely not everybody is trying to overcome tribalism as a social methodology, but as someone who does, I think it can’t help to be unproductive. Prejudice seems tempting when you know that your side is enlightened. The left was already too reactionary for my liking, and unfortunately I see the current panic exacerbating that tendency, of defining ourselves by Who We Are Not.

The way this has always worked is to encourage people to be superficial, to believe that you instantly know who somebody is and what they are all about at a glance. It “works” because it’s a path of least resistance in a species of visual-pattern fiends, but it is also frequently wrong - both morally and objectively.

This all might come off as too preachy, but I do not expect to change anybody’s minds. Merely stating why I don’t go along with this sort of thing. Not because it represents a group I don’t want to be associated with, but rather functions as a methodology which I estimate will never yield the reality we are striving for. YMMV


If people signal to each other, I would like to know what that signal means, rather than debate whether it’s right or wrong of them to signal.



But yes, this would be a bit premature.


I haven’t seen them near me, but fashion can be shockingly local


I agree with this entirely. My main difference is that messages are not the same as being ascribed membership in some class or group. Once anybody is foremost a label, nuance tends to go out the window. I chafe just like whenever somebody declares what they “know” about “the blacks”, “the gays”, or “the liberals” as groups. As overused as the phrase slippery slope is, I think it is apposite here.

For instance, in the past week it has been remarked that both my nails and my paisley yoga pants are somehow “statements”. Which doesn’t mean that I am sending coded messages - it just means that they used these details to classify me as some particular type of person. It’s rather insidious. (Not so much about me, as a first-hand illustration)


I agree. I don’t want to label just anyone with a goatee as being right-wing, because it can mean other things other than what the right-wingers use it to mean… or it can mean absolutely nothing. In order to decode what a signal means, one must first establish that there is a signal, both in general and in a particular case.

I am the first to admit I don’t know anything about “the alt-right”. I’m just trying to make sense out of this phenomenon.


I’ve seen them in various cities up and down the East Coast (including the Southeast) in the past few years. In the Midwest, not so much, especially not in the more rural parts. This doesn’t surprise me, because the rural Midwest is not a place where hot new trends typically originate. I am surprised to have seen comparatively few in Chicago, but a fair amount in different East Coast cities.

Writing this, I realize that I haven’t even set foot west of the Mississippi in five years.