There comes a time in every man’s life when he needs an answer to the question, ‘what would my life be like if I grew a beard?’
2011 was my year to answer that question. In November, I stopped shaving.
My new beard and I got off to a poor start. The car was off the road, so I had a two hour bus journey into work and another two hours back. I developed a horrible cold. And, until the end of December, I didn’t have a set of clippers to keep my growth in check.
The new year saw my growth and I settle into a new, comfortable routine. However, the beginning of May marks the beginning of summer. I know myself well enough to know I won’t tolerate a beard during the hot summer months. It’s still a struggle to live with my long hair during August. So my beard will be a winter visitor, arriving in November (Samhain) and leaving again in May (Beltane).
It makes me look smarter and more mature than I actually am.
It’s immensely satisfying to stroke the hairs on my chinny-chin-chin.
When I get bored, I can pull hairs out of it. It’s more fun than it sounds.
I spend more time shaving with a beard than I do without. Without, it’s easy: just lather up and run the blade through the foam. With the beard, I need get the clippers, put the grade on them (grade four in my case) and trim my growth; then, I need to take the grade off, cut the ends of my moustache and then shave the bits of my neck that should be bare; then, I need to lather my neck and run the blade through. I spend about twice the time shaving with a beard than without.
You know that thing your hair does when you don’t wash it and it gets greasy and slimy? My beard does that, too. My face is covered in greasy hair.
And it needs trimming regularly, too. Leave it too long, and it gets in my mouth and the ends get ratty. Twice a week is pretty much a minimum for me.
Having a cold and a moustache isn’t much fun. Really, it isn’t.
And my moustache grows out more than down. Seriously, what the fuck?
I’m a sci-fi fan. I’m the kind of sci-fi fan who has a poster of the Enterprise (NX-01, for those wondering). I’m socially awkward. A combination of stimulant-triggered asthma and permanently swollen upper nostrils means I occasionally need to breath through my mouth and my speech isn’t always too clear. I have a long pony tail. And I have a gut on me. With the beard, all I need are the glasses to make me the walking stereotype of everything about sci-fi fans that gives us a bad name. Honestly, put me in an ill-fitting My Little Pony t-shirt and a pair of glasses and you can use me as the poster boy for a ‘keep your kids out of sci-fi’ campaign.
And The Kinda Weird
We have a cat, Crowley. He’s the kind of cat that likes to lick you. And he loves to lick my beard. I’m incredibly tolerant with him. He will quite happily lick my beard for fifteen minutes and even then, there are times I’ll get fed up with it and stop him before he wants to stop. Summer Saturday mornings won’t be the same without Crowley sitting on my chest, licking my facial hair with his cat-food breath while I struggle to wake up.
So long as you’re prepared to put in the extra grooming time, beards are awesome and every man should grow one and live with it for a few months. You’re never going to know otherwise. And for all you women out there, it took me a good few years to convince Allegra to let me go for it. Now, she’s already missing it. It’s like I said, ladies: you’re never going to know if you don’t try.