For as long as I've known Jake Gyllenhaal (which isn't long, since I don't know him), he has been growing beards. And before anyone jumps in with an outdated Jake-is-gay comment (*so 2005*), let me clarify that I'm talking about the lush patch of facial hair he sprouts at staggering speed - seriously, what is this man's testosterone level - between every movie he has ever filmed.
Over the years, Jake's beard has been a point of incessant conversation and division. Is it hot? Is it not? What does it smell like?
No firm conclusions have ever been made.
All fans must deal with it and all fans must decide for themselves where they stand. Because like the phases of the moon, the tides of ocean, and the arrest warrants of Paris Hilton, it is a constant of life that Jake Gyllenhaal will grow one. So today, in honor of Jake (once again) growing his beard, the traditional symbol of his not-giving-a-fuck-itude, I offer a celebration of...
Third Runner-Up: The Year 2000!
Alright, Jake was unable to grow facial hair, because he was 12. But I couldn't find a rational reason not to post this picture:
Second Runner-Up: The Year 2006!
As it kicks off, 2006 truly seems poised to become The Year of the Beard. In the frenzy of the post-Brokeback era, Jake's fanbase expands to the point that his beard is named "Dill" by an overzealous fan and a since-deleted blog by the name of "Save Our Dill" is created to lobby for its continuing existence.*
April gives us this:
But by June, trouble surfaces. Jake seems to be hiding his beard in public. Out of shame? The future suddenly looks uncertain.
And sure enough, mere weeks later, Jake scales down to a stubbled look. (Overcome, women flock to him in parking lots.) The remainder of the year is spent primarily clean-shaven.
First Runner-Up: The Year 2007!
No question about it, no one thinks 2007 has it in it. But then BAM! The month of May happens.
With nearly a year of clean living behind him, things go radically off course and Jake...flirts with a mustache:
The mustache (clearly) doesn't flirt back.
Though it's gone by the next day, the floodgates have opened, paving the way for an experimental and yet-to-be-explained Wolverine phase in June:
By October, the line between what we think we know and what's actually happening is blurring. Though tradition states that Jake must shave before making his promotional rounds, Rendition's publicity tour is done (gasp!) with the beard intact.
Tumultuous as the year is, though, it ends on a conservative note. Mere weeks after flaunting the beard on every television station that would have him, Jake coldly casts it aside for a "sexier" 5 o'clock shadow...
Which brings us to...
Winner: The Year 2010!
One might ask how this year can be named victor when we have not yet seen its close. But this is brave new territory... So unstoppable has the beard growth of 2010 been that Jake could shave tomorrow, spend the last four months of the year smooth as a baby's behind, and still the champion designation would remain.
Because 2010 has not only already given us this:
And then this:
And then this:
It's the year that's giving us this. In real time. Right now. The mother of all Jake beards:
2010, I bow down to you. When you started, I glibly broadcast far and wide that you would grace us with a beard. But you have truly gone above and beyond the call of duty. If only that Save Our Dill girl was around to see what she's been missing...
*The Becky who started "Save Our Dill" is not the same Becky who is otherwise known as Prophecy Girl. Turned out the fandom wasn't big enough for two Beckys. The victor lives on (and is anti-Dill, though pro-Jake-not-giving-a-fuck-what-I-or-anyone-else-thinks :)).