In the January issue we ran a photo essay on beards, calling Portland the "beardiest city in America." We had no empirical evidence of this, of course—the claim was merely observational, anecdotal.

Creative director Hector Sanchez and I started with a simple question: "What’s up with all these intense beards?" We’d both lived in various cities on various continents but we’d never seen as many beards—and as many cool variations on beards—as in PDX. When we started asking the fellas about their facial hair, they came through with insightful, sincere reasons for their beards, some that had nothing to do with hair at all. Their comments began to tell us something about the culture of the Pacific Northwest, and about Portland.

Loads of people loved the piece, and some just didn’t get it. Which is fine. To each his own, etc. In a city as rich in design and subcultures, we felt it was a natural fit. Plus, we operate on the belief that if a piece is simply interesting, readers will respond, which is what happened with A beard is a scarf…

Hector recently submitted the essay to the Society of Publication Designers, the venerable organization dedicated to excellence in editorial design. SPD loaded the spread onto its website. You can see it and read the comments there (And look for Hector’s design blog soon on portlandmonthlymag.com)

If you’ve got a great beard, show us. Shoot a digi to editor@portlandmonthlymag.com and maybe we’ll run it on our website. (And by "great beard" I do not mean shots of body parts that will make me want to call the police. Thank you.)