The 5 o’clock shadow that George Michael brandished in the 1980s has not always been at the forefront of men’s fashion. I’m actually not sure if it even is now, but the fact that I sport one makes me want to think that it wasn’t just an ’80s fetish like the goatee was in the 1990s. But please, before we begin, let me explain MY reason for hosting designer stubble upon my face. It really boils down to one reason- I look like a real fucking asshole with a naked face- it’s like god thought it would be funny to smear skin on my face like wet clay and not mold it. To top it off, my half-mexican face is a prolific oil producer, it averages the oil of two mexican faces. So, without my short face hair, I basically look like a blanched Gumby pulled right out of a deep fryer.
Libations at Five
For the most part we all know why a man’s 5 o’clock shadow is called a 5 o’clock shadow, right? He shaves in the morning, and by 5pm there is a shadow of beard growth apparent on his face- especially if he has dark hair. Well there’s actually a bit of history to this- there is a reason why it’s called the 5 and not the 4:45 o’clock shadow- and it has to do with the Brits…
English high society in the 19th century would take their tea at 5 o’clock. As the custom trickled down to the middle class, it traveled across to America where we ditched the tea and turned it into a late afternoon meal referred to a “5 o’clock dinner”, then shortened the term to a “5 o’clock”.
In the 1930s, Gem Safety Razor Company needed a fancy slogan to sell their razors. Nobody wanted to show up to dinner with a raggedy assed face. This helped set the precedent for decades that a 5 o’clock shadow was the lazy and hapless man’s face- a face for a hobo clown, a bum, and a man without a name.
Or, for a man with a name of Richard Nixon. 1960 introduced the first televised presidential debate. John F. Kennedy showed up looking tan and unyeilding after spending some time campaigning in California. Nixon on the other hand, had just been in the hospital due to an infection in his knee. He had lost 20 lbs and appeared gaunt. Having shaved that morning, he opted not to shave immediately before the debate, but to apply a coat of Lazy Shave. Lazy Shave was essentially a thick make-up that claimed to hide a 5 o’clock shadow for a few hours. The hot bright television lights coupled with stress sweat caused the cake to crumble in minutes. Kennedy, the young american quarterback, was tossing footballs at the current vice president, an unkempt pale man standing on the corner of Main St, USA.
Wait, isn’t a 5 O’clock Shadow a cocktail too?
Why yes it is, thank you for asking. The 5 O’clock Shadow is a cocktail as well. It bears that title for a few reasons actually. The first being that during it’s initial conception it contained 5 ingredients. After much testing and tweaking it picked up a few more ingredients.
The next reason is because it’s a working person’s drink. It’s for that guy or gal that just got off work at 5 o’clock and doesn’t want to have to make any more decisions- too tired to decide between tequila or gin, vodka or whiskey- this is the drink for them. There is no single standout player in this drink. This shit is AYSO- everyone plays.
And finally, this is a brown and scratchy drink- plain and simple. It’s not even a pretty brown- it’s just brown. No frills, no thrills. There’s no garnish. It is what it is- it’s herbal and tart- it’s sweet and spicy- it’s bitey and tickly. It’s even patchy- maybe you ran out of one ingredient mid-pour- no big deal, just put in a little more of the next ingredient.
Speaking of ingredients, here’s the recipe…
In a rocks glass, combine…
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Montenegro Amaro
1/2 oz Chartreuse
1/2 oz St. Germain
A scant 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
The juice of 1/2 large lime
Add ice, top with Cock N Bull Ginger Beer
Well. That’s it. A relatively short and simple post… so, um… yeah. How about I let my good friend Fred Rogers wrap this one up- who would have looked fantastic with a 5 o’clock shadow. Thanks.
“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”
I realize that my sense of humor is very random, and at times, shameful. I also realize that it leans heavily on pop culture references that are both out of date and very specific to my interests- which are again, both random, and at times, shameful. Aw hell, AND out of date- I’m watching M*A*S*H right now while everyone else is watching Game of Thrones!
Anyway, I feel I have to explain the opening image of this post. The “guitar player” as someone called him, is George Michael, the singer-songwriter legend. He is standing in a banana stand that appears in the show Arrested Development, which is managed by another George Michael, a timid adolescent character played by Michael Cera. See what I did there with the George Michaels?
Okay, fine- I’m going to throw subtlety out the window- my graduate school professor said I sucked at it anyway. Just google “George Michael public restroom“. Why else do you think I would put him in a little yellow outhouse surrounded by bananas and nuts?