Have lumberjacks been axed?
Where did they come from, what were they and where did they go?
During one of my usual weekend strolls around the park I came to a sad realisation: lumberjacks are disappearing.
They’ve seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth. No more fluffy beards and usually chequered plaid flannel shirts.
A bit of lumberjack history
I love to romanticise lumberjacks, but I feel it is important to be aware of their origins and severity of their work conditions.
The lumberjacks — and now I mean the logging industry workers — did not have the relaxed lifestyle and habits nowadays ‘lumberjacks’ do.
They were North American woodworkers, who lived between 1840 and 1940.
Although certain traits are still present in our culture through folklore, media and timber related sports like aizkolaritza, wood chopping, axe throwing, caber toss and pole climbing, being a lumberjack was not fun and games.
Lumberjacks had to work long hours in brutal conditions and usually in dangerous and life-threatening situations. They worked outdoors, in all sorts of weathers, from blazing storms to melting heat. Predating the invention of the electric chainsaw, these men had to use hand tools and sheer muscle to cut trees and carry heavy logs all day for a ridiculously low pay.
Today the few remaining ‘lumberjacks’ tend to be found at your local gym working their rugged physique, gathering around a microbrewery or eating organically produced DIY micro tacos at your nearest car park now turned into pop-up market. I have always detested the latter assembly point for one simple reason: I like my food like I like sex: cheap, good and in large portions. But hey, after four years living in London I got used to ‘pay the ticket to see the show’.
The lumberjack style
We can’t resist labelling everything in our lives and unfortunately the lumberjack style is no exception. This mesh between hypermasculinity and metrosexual, a now démodé term, we decided to call lumbersexual. Personally I hate the term but love the style.
It is an interesting play on ‘society rules’ of masculinity. The rugged look that would lead you to believe that they could survive months in the woods just with a pocket knife in one hand — Angus MacGyver meets Bear Grylls style — while applying artisan beard oil with the other well manicured hand.
The most common traits of this style are:
- Some sort of well groomed facial hair
- Flannel shirt complemented with denim jeans or overalls
- Preferably some leather working boots, but plain sneakers are also acceptable
- A small and minimalist apartment, with a heavily wood based decoration
- An Independent mind with an ‘alternative’ lifestyle and a classic vibe
- A bathroom cabinet full of artisan shaving products and woodsy scented colognes
- A french bulldog (optional).
Save the lumberjack
Now that you know a bit more about ‘the lumberjack’ please help me keep him alive.
Let’s make #savethelumberjack trend on Twitter to show our support.
And for all ex-lumberjacks out there, please come back, we still love you.
If not for me, think about all those poor french bulldogs that will have no beards to lick bread crumbs from. All those barbers, wood artwork sellers and thrift shops that will lose their best costumers.
And if these words were not enough to convince you, I leave you with some of the best Instagram ‘lumbies’ — I just came up with that one:
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