Funny? Without a doubt.
But how accurate is it? That is, just how long does a beard have to be to qualify as a wizard beard? And was the somewhat reclusive, idiosyncratic tech billionaire stealing wizard valor by sporting what was merely a long goatee, or should Gandalf the Great start to worry?
First, let’s establish some baselines (as best we can). Some argue Dumbledore’s beard, which could canonically be tucked into his waist, was 30 inches long. For its part, Gandalf’s beard surpassed 12 inches initially, but shrunk as The Lord of the Rings series unfolded. Meanwhile, various novelty T-shirts and early-internet memes place the length of the stereotypical wizard beard at anywhere from sitting just above the chest to just below the belly button.
It would seem, then, that wizard beard canon is all over the map. So maybe actual wizard-bearded men can help out. Travis, who goes by The Beard Hero on Instagram and hosts a podcast called Nothing in Moderation, hasn’t let a razor touch his face since February 2013 when he left a job that required he be clean shaven every day.
According to him, “Wizarding starts just past the nipples.”
“At its current length, the longest bits of my beard land just shy of midway between my nipples and my navel,” he adds. “Once you hit the navel, you’ve gone full wizard, and you should feel the magic growing inside you as your wizarding beard prowess increases.”
In other words, wizard beards are best measured in terms of where they sit on the body as opposed to in inches. “What’s ‘right’ depends on the total situation — a lil’ fella and a tall fella could have the same length beard in inches, but proportionally, the lil’ fella has a more wizardly-looking situation going on,” Travis says.
Sam Robinson, proprietor of The Well Groomed Wizard, offers further insight. “A common benchmark within the beard-growing community is called the ‘yeard,’ or a beard grown for a full year,” he tells me, estimating Gandalf’s and Dumbledore’s beard look to be about three years’ worth of growth. That said, he believes that there’s no “official benchmark,” and what matters more is the intent behind the beard (or the big wizard energy it conjures). “A wizard’s beard should be a thing of pride,” he says. “It shouldn’t be the result of years of neglect of shaving, but a carefully cultivated, maintained feature on the face.”
And while Travis deems Dorsey’s current situation to be more “mystic than wizard,” he says the tech CEO wouldn’t be shunned by the terrestrial council of wizard beards either. “It’s always nice to have that comfort and instant bond with someone,” he says. Such is the feeling he gets whenever he sees a fellow “Beard Brother” on the street. “We usually give each other a ‘Hey brother! Nice beard!’” Travis laughs. “Usually that’s followed by a ‘Thanks, I grew it myself!’ and a tilted head, self-face stroke and thumbs up.”
In sum — and Jack Dorsey, if you’re listening — it doesn’t hurt to grow your beard for a year or allow it to stretch below your nipple line in order to achieve a full wizard beard, but for the most part, wizard beards are in the eye of the beard-holder.