Barbe rouge et vin rouge

And boom, we've finally reached the Paris times. This striking redbeard was found shortly after we made the move. So in SF, we were living in a furnished apartment. Which means we moved to Paris with basically nothing aside from our clothes, trinkets, pug, and a keyboard piano. When we arrived, we had to buy everything. And an unfurnished apartment in France is like, really empty. We had to buy a refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, faucets, light fixtures, all the normal stuff, like bed, couch, coffee table, EVERYTHING. When you don't speak the language, this is an especially difficult task. Also, you don't really know where to get anything, or where to start looking. You don't even know the word for what you're looking for sometimes. It was stressful. 

But on this particular day, we were on a canapé (couch) hunt. I'd been looking around for awhile, and knew what I was after. Ikea, Conforama, Maisons du Monde, and the other usual suspects had failed me, so I'd finally decided on a comfy, L-shaped gray couch from Bo Concept. It was Sunday, so the only Bo Concept open was near Chatelet. Getting my husband Max to pull the trigger on any expensive purchase is not easy, so by the time we'd picked the couch, bartered the price, and finally paid, I was jubilant. The couch ordeal wore us out, so we wandered around in search of a good bite and chill spot. We settled at a Thai place. Lucky for us, a fiery redbeard also decided to eat at that Thai place, and he sat at the table next to us. I didn't want to interrupt his meal, so I had Max snap a quick shot, right as the redbeard was being spoon-fed by his lady. Perfect timing.

La barbe touristique

redddd.png

While hunting for our Paris apartment last June, a redbeard was spotted. Not on a Frenchman, but what was very obviously, a tourist. He was staring at the Palais de Justice with a gaping maw (or perhaps just yawning), when I found him. I probably should've approached, it's very possible he spoke English, but I think I was in a hurry, off to the next apartment viewing. And the tourists here take pictures of absolutely everything, often with a selfie stick, so I have no shame in taking pictures of them. 

I was with my father-in-law at this particular moment, so I had to explain why I was photographing random tourists. Some people find it very odd that I collect photos of redbearded men, but I believe it's good to have a collection of something. It keeps you curious and seeking new experiences. I collect redbeards, and also crushed pennies. 

Barbarossa

unnamed-9.jpg

As you may have noticed, I've been making all my post titles in French or Franglish. It's because I can say very simple, caveman-esque things, but it then sounds lovely. Also it's good practice for me. Maybe one day this entire blog will be in French. Ha, but not really because my French is horrendous. I felt the need to point this out, because the above title is not in fact French, but Italian. I know I should stick to my theme, but the word "barbarossa" is too gorgeous to be denied. I also thought about doing my titles in the language of the country where the featured redbeard resides, but that would just get complicated. What if I go to Russia?

Back to the purpose of the post, which is this charming, Italian redbeard. So last June, my husband Max and I went to Paris to find an apartment. Max's mother leads a study abroad program in Italy, that my mother took part in, so both our moms were abroad. After we picked an apartment, we headed southward to meet the moms in Siena. Twice a year, in July and August, Siena hosts a badass, no holds barred horse race called the Palio that pits its 'contradas' (basically the different city districts) against each other. It is wild. People are shoving each other off their horses, brawling in the street, trying to sabotage each other's horses before the race, crying, kissing, etc. If a married couple are from different contradas, one of them literally moves out during the Palio days, it's rivalry like I've never seen. 

Well like any city-wide celebration, it was a clusterfuck, the streets of this tiny, medieval town just stuffed with people. Yet amidst the chaos, I found a redbeard. I didn't ask if I could take this shot, I just took it. He was shoving past in his U2 shirt and the moment was ripe. I also like the woman over his shoulder wearing aviators and a mean face.

 

Le garçon barbu qui aimait danser

This young redbeard was discovered at a party. We still have quite a many photos to get through until we hit present day, so this is a past-ie and still in San Francisco. I believe these photos were taken last summer in early June.

For months, maybe even years, I'd heard good, wild things about Hard French, a monthly dance party at a bar called El Rio. I knew I would soon be moving to France, and so when my friend Hillary Lannan suggested we go, I was thrilled. Hilldawg is pretty much an SF socialite, and can always be counted on for a good time. We arrived a bit late, and the party was in full swing. There was less dancing than I'd expected, but plenty of merriment. I got tipsy quick, and remember embarrassing Hillary by touching the curly hair of one of her coworkers. I can be a creepy drunk for sure. But the upside of my imbibing is that I lost all fear of asking every redbeard at the party if I could take a picture of them.

I had to take two photos of this guy, because in the first one it looked like his head hair was red as well. It was not. It was most definitely blonde. There wasn't tons of dancing (as I mentioned above), but this man was rocking out. It was a tough decision to interrupt his dancing to ask about his beard. But I'm glad I did it. He didn't mind either. He was very proud of his beard and had plans to grow it much larger.

Où la barbe rouge grandit / Where the red beard grows

unnamed-7.jpg

It was hard to leave San Francisco for many reasons, but one of those reasons is because the city is filled to the brim with crimson beards. Maybe it's the whole hipster/hippie vibe, so there are more beards in general, but I used to encounter at least a handful a day. Sometimes when I would spot one, I'd just let him go. Perhaps I was in a hurry, or he was, or it was clear it would be an awkward sitch if I were to ask for a photo. But some strangers had to be stopped, for their beards were just too good to pass up. This man was one of those types.

My buddy Matt League was in town, so I was already in a happier mood than usual. I believe Matt wishes he had a beard of rouge, but his beard is composed of many colors, red, gray, blonde, etc. Anyway, we were tromping through the Mission en route to a bar called The Sycamore, known for its bottomless mimosas and chill back patio. When we passed the redbeard, Matt and I made eye contact. He gave an eyebrow raise and a slow nod, which I read as, "Wooo, that was a good one." I knew I had to act quickly or the beard would escape, so I doubled back and asked the dude for a photo. He was a good sport, people in San Francisco are used to encounters much weirder than this. 

Red on rouge

I have a bit of a backlog of redbearded gentlemen that I've collected over the years, and this fine sir is one of them. Once I started noticing the phenomenon, I would point them out to my friends. Since then, many of said friends have seen redbeards mingling about in their own lives, and sent me pictures to prove it. My girl, Lauren Perlow, texted me this photo that she took in LA. 

This guy in particular, is one of my favorites. I don't know him personally, but he just looks so nice. Like one of those people that's really friendly, has kind eyes (even though you can't tell because his eyes are closed), and gives great bear hugs. And the red of his beard set against the brilliant red of his t-shirt, it's just artful. Thanks for this gem, Lopo, I hold it dear. 

La première redbeard

I've always had a bit of a fascination with redheaded folk, but it wasn't until the past few years that I began to focus on the bearded variety. It happened in an instant. It was one of those euphoric moments, where everything is magic.

I was at Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma, California. Some friends and I had ventured north to swing by the brewery for a flight of beers, and then proceed on to a corn maze. There was live music, people dancing, and then I saw him. A redbeard so distinguished and prominent that I was forced to gape in wonder. I eyed him for a bit, pointed him out to my friends, then made some creepy attempts to take a photograph of his magnificence. 

The spotting of this man is what began my quest to capture ginger beards of the world. He set the standard. I wish so badly that I could go back in time and get a better picture, perhaps interview him a little, really just a get a sense of how he feels about his impressive bristles. Just looking at that thing, you can tell it's been loved. He definitely grooms it, maybe oils it even.

Anyway, seeing this guy was a total Baader-Meinhof situation for me (Baader-Meinhof = when a thing you just found out about suddenly seems to pop up everywhere). I started seeing redbeards constantly. And eventually, I began collecting them. Now I'm living in Paris, France, traveling often, and there are beards of rouge wherever I look. I must say, it's far more awkward to ask someone if I can take a photo of their beard in my broken French ("Je peux prendre une photo de votre barbe rousse?"), but I'm getting better.