Why Men Grow Beards
I was probably about 13 when I first shaved. It’s a bit of a big deal for a boy you know.
With the bathroom door safely locked I brought my face closer to the mirror for a final inspection.
My Dad’s shaving foam to hand, strategy in place, it was time to go. With the blue Bic disposable razor in my right hand I nervously went to work.
10 mins later – job done.
Of course, the customary bum fluff ronnie was left intact. (It was the 80’s).
The next day I was kicking ball after school with my mates and whatever way the sun caught my face the light gave away my moustached ambitions.
Well, needless to say I copped some slagging that afternoon. However I was not discouraged, something was drawing me to my manhood!
I never liked being clean shaven as a teenager and besides, wet shaving played havoc with my skin. So I started dry shaving.
I haven’t had a wet shave in decades.
When I’m not beard growing I use a barbershop clippers to shave my face, and my head too as it happens.
Beards are good. I’m a fan, and it feels like grow-my-beard season.
Having a beard allows me express my masculinity, my manly prowess, my rebellious nature.
But most women I know don’t get it. No harm though, it’s man stuff…
Certainly my missus doesn’t get it, and that means I don’t “get it” as a direct result.
Yes that’s right, bedroom action is totally out of the question when my beard begins to approach epic proportions.
I get stonewalled!
“Don’t come near me with that thing on your face”, she says.
This is generally when I get my ultimatum; “Forget it! It’s either me or the beard!”. She exclaims.
We're Reaching Trendy Beard Overload
It's very trendy these days to sport a beard. Kind of like back in the 70's when beards were big, albeit a bit wild and out of control.
These days the younger ones are all hipster like. Skinny jeans and well groomed facial hair is the order of the day.
With that the beard has kind of lost some of its appeal I think. It's all a bit too well scripted for me.
Take a cool thing, productise it and you loose the energy of it. Just like when anything new and unique is hijacked by over popularity.
Now, I wouldn't discourage any man from growing his beard, the opposite in fact. It's just that it's become a little sterilised for me that's all.
If you're intent on going all out with your beard do it for the right reason. Don't be a slave to some fashion trend.
Do it because you're a man.
And remember… there's poor sods out there couldn't grow a beard if their life depended on it.
An Encounter With A Kindred Spirit
My first and most profound encounter with a fellow bearded one was about 20 years ago I'd say.
I was sitting in The Foggy Dew of a Saturday afternoon enjoying a pint of the black stuff with my mate Dave, donning several weeks growth when a fellow bearded afternoon reveller addressed me…
“Hey man, nice beard man”, he said.
“Oh right” I said. “Thanks.”
Surprised, I smiled graciously, intrigued by the approach. (I do a good beard you know).
He was slightly older than me. Long black hair, big beard, earthy type dude dressed in the usual bohemian attire you would commonly associate with Foggy Dew clientele.
Led Zeppelin of The Who or something was playing in the background. They usually had 5 CDs playing on a rotation behind the bar.
iPods and stuff although beginning to gather momentum weren't everywhere yet. Incidentally, the music was the reason I frequented this particular watering hole.
So I'm kind of taken back by this forward approach but felt a kind of kindred connection to the bearded stranger.
We got talking about beards. Well he did most of the talking really.
“What tribe are you man?”, he asked.
“Tribe?” I questioned back. A little bewildered and not sure if I heard him correctly.
“Yeah man what tribe are you?”
“Growing my beard is tribal ya know. I love growing my beard, it just feels right ya know. I'm a man like, and I have to grow my beard.” he said, now shaking his open hands vigorously as he gestured to his face.
“My missus isn't crazy about it, she doesn't get it ya know. A man just needs to grow his beard, women don't understand ya know” he said.
A Message From The Beard Spirit
The conversation was good, we had a bit of further banter about beards, we finished our beers and off we went in opposite directions.
The memory of meeting my bearded counterpart has stayed in my mind years afterwards. To be honest I'm not sure exactly why the bearded one stayed with me.
Maybe he was some kind of beard spirit sent to bring me a message from my other world spiritual beard clan.
All I can say is that our bearded common ground formed a bond that only men with beards can understand.
It's spiritual n'shit – you either get it or you don't.
Feature image courtesy of Jeremy Lahman at Big Red Beard Combs
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