As I prepare for Halloween, I've learned that there are 5 stages to growing a beard.
Stubble: This can be anywhere from 5 minutes after shaving to 5 days, depending on the guy. This is not a popular look, but it generally implies you don't have enough time/motivation to shave. Women tolerate it*, but tend not to comment on it.
Scruffy: This is quite popular now, even here in Germany. It takes some effort to maintain, but it's worth it to keep the look that says you don't put forth any effort. And it drives the women wild.
Yasser: The former Palestinian leader pioneered the too-short-not-long-enough look. It's the key reason he was tied** for last in the "People Magazine Sexiest World Leaders" poll. This is also the stage where female coworkers say "you're growing a beard?" in the same tone they would say "you're a sadist?"***
Here I am at this stage, minus the shades and keffiyeh.
Crazy (or, as I call it, "The CW"): Once the beard gets full, you move from shady potential terrorist to actual crazy person. I'm really looking forward to this stage.
The Guru: This one is restricted to ZZ Top, kung fu masters and religious gurus -- the only types of people with the time, conviction and indifference to societal conventions concerning food and facial hair to have the full beard.
* Wayyyyy more than guys tolerate Fem-Stubble
** With Nixon
*** I'm guessing the tone is the same. I haven't heard the latter.