Steven – the tireless and dedicated author/webmaster of Beards.org – offers a nurturing and diplomatic tone on the subject. This is important because despite the current beard trend, a lot of guys are still really reserved about growing one. Friends, coworkers and relatives can be really mean about you growing a beard. That is until they get used to it and you shave it off. Then they complain that you don’t have a beard. I know this from personal experience.
So here’s jimbo’s slightly less sensitive advice on growing a beard from things I’ve heard from people and questions I’ve been asked in the past:
- It itches! Waaah! I don’t care. STFU, sit down and listen: it’s a beard you’re trying to grow, not a goddamn patch of violets. Do you think a post-operative transsexual who’s growing a beard for the first time ever thinks about how bad it tickles? NO. He grows one out anyway and has more balls than you with that attitude. Much respect to the bearded trannies out there.
I understand some people’s beard hairs do curl back in towards the skin and I don’t doubt that it does itch something fierce when you grow it out. But your skin will get used to it over time, and/or the hairs will mellow out with more length (more on that later). They will eventually stop growing back towards the skin, particularly with some conditioner and relaxing agent. Yes, a good beard requires product sometimes but most of all a beard requires patience Patience is the first lesson your beard will teach you.
- I can’t grow a beard because of my workplace/lawfirm/office rules. Bullshit. To date no one has produced a document to present to me that proves this. I want to see this in writing. And I’ll bet if the CEO has a beard you would grow one too. But this isn’t about following the herd, this is about AUTHORITY. Namely yours.
Check with HR. Go through your workplace documents. Ask around. Drop a few hints with management. I’ll bet it’s just you who thinks that. Beards are more acceptable these days and it isn’t the goddamn overshaven 90s anymore. People are staring at your beard in the workplace because your beard is awesome. Just ask Matt Fijko, Corporate Trader about his beard. He says, “You are a man and I think it’s your God given right to grow a beard.” Testify, Matt. This is the second lesson in beardism: your beard is yours. It belongs to no one else. Not your workplace, your friends, your partner, nor your family. A beard requires resolve.
- It’s patchy! If you would let it grow beyond three days you might find out that it’s not. Again, patience is a virtue, and you’ll need a lot of it. You might have to grow it out to wooly proportions to see if the look fits. If it doesn’t, then you can trim it back, but by Odin’s Beard please don’t do the corporate stubble and give up after a weekend. It may take a month or two of persistence and learning how to trim it to see if those pesky patches fill in over time. If you can find a reputable barber who’s good with beard trims, they may offer advice. Ask around for good barbers and give it a try after a couple months’ growth. And barbers who are good with beard trims are usually good at giving you manly haircuts like this guy, so it’s a win/win.
- It’s grey! So what!? Maybe you waited too long to grow one out before it got grey, but it’s not too late. You don’t have to rely on Just For Men like some people we know either. This is a beard, not this summer’s hot horizontal-striped tank top fashion. It’s gonna be with you and it’s going to age with you too. OWN IT ALL. Even the grey.
Hair coloring can look odd and sometimes obvious in direct sunlight, but that’s usually when men choose too dark of a color to apply. And like my mom says about body modifications and hair coloring, “If it’s obvious, you shouldn’t have done it.” If you must color your beard, keep in mind beards are frequently a different color than the hair on your head. When I grew beard out really long I was surprised to find it was almost auburn. The hair on my head is sandy brown.
The other option is to snip those grey hairs until there are too many to keep up with. Or just let it go grey. Some people find that really attractive.
- It’s going out of fashion. I don’t care. I’ll admit the beard thing has been big in 2012/2013 and is probably on the way out, but trends linger for a time and so can your beard. Plus, now is the time to do it since it is still somewhat cool. Then again, you shouldn’t give a fuck as to whether it’s fashionable or not because it’s your beard. But whatever you do, please don’t get a beard implant. I love you the way you are, even without a beard.
- I don’t know how to trim it. Again, check with Beards.org on how to trim it or just do a search on YouTube for a how-to video. Then invest in a decent trimmer. You can get cheap starter trimmers at the pharmacy. I ordered a turbo trimmer from Wahl that my beard barber approves of. Sometimes I trim at home, sometimes I trust the barber do it. But trust in the trimmer. Yes, that’s the final lesson your beard will teach you. You must learn to trust your hand, your beard, or the barber.
A Special Note About Mustaches: Movember is coming up soon and I know it’s cool to try and grow a cheesy ’stache from scratch for a cause, but that’s not how you do it if you want a decent mustache. To get an epic ’stache you should grow the full beard out as long as you can stand it. This may take months and a lot of persistence and resolve. Then you trim gradually and carefully down to the mustache. Mustaches are good for those of you who honestly have a patchy beard. And they can look good and are definitely “in” right now. But I will admit that not everyone looks good with a ’stache but I would still like you to try.
So there you have it. Growing a beard will not only make you hot as a beetle on a sand dune, but will also teach you the virtues of patience, resolve, individuality and trust.