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Barnstable man’s bushy brush with celebrity

Jeffrey Buoncristiano is a social media hit because of his beard.Howard Reyes/Handout

At this point, it would be difficult for Jeffrey Buoncristiano to decide to shave. He has become a bit of an Internet celebrity because of his much-adored facial hair.

Jeffrey Buoncristiano.Handout

It all started a few years ago when Buoncristiano moved from Barnstable to New York and went through a tough breakup. "I got all depressed and since I'm a freelancer, I wasn't working," he said. "I sat around and I didn't shave." Buoncristiano just kept growing his facial hair and began to post pics of his progress on Reddit where there was a discussion thread about beards. "The community is really cool and really encouraging," he said of the online beard group.

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More and more people began to take notice. "I'd find pictures of me on Pinterest," Buoncristiano said. And then he heard from a reporter, BuzzFeed's Rachel Zarrell , who used to be a correspondent at the Globe. Zarrell wrote a BuzzFeed story about Buoncristiano in June and suddenly he was a star. The headline was: "This Man Got Stupidly Hot After He Spent a Year Growing a Beard." The now-single Buoncristiano, 34, told us, with a laugh, "Obviously, I love attention."

Now that it's November — a.k.a "Movember," the month that guys are encouraged to grow facial hair to promote men's health — the story has been reposted and aggregated by other websites. Last we checked, the BuzzFeed article had 1,846,596 views.

Buoncristiano continues to post nice pictures of the beard for fans on Instagram. By day he's a motion graphics artist, but he says he's open to modeling. "Ironically, working behind the lens has pushed me to want to model in front of it as well."

As for what his Barnstable friends think of his stardom, Buoncristiano doesn't know. He's on Instagram, but after that terrible breakup he also broke up with social media. "I don't have Facebook," he said. "I kind of am oblivious to the world around me in that way."

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Meredith Goldstein can be reached at meredith.goldstein@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MeredithGoldste.