Whether you grow a beard for the extra testosterone, mild immunosuppression, spermatogenesis, as a cheap dress-up costume – see pirate or Lincoln – to assert your dominance in a crowd, or simply because you have an ugly chin, the process of bearding is perilous. However, it’s not without guidance.
This article shall illuminate the physical and psychological snares of bearding – growing, styling, appeasing your girlfriend – so that you can safely navigate life with a beard.
Firstly – well done. By even conjuring the thought of growing a beard you have instantly tapped into the grand history of all-manliness.
Charles Darwin, bearded evolutionary scientist, was the first to purport that the process of sexual selection led to beards, meaning: more beardy, more powerful, more women, more offspring. Fact. Therefore, survival-of-the-beardest isn’t just a theory that disproves creationism.
Throughout time, beards have been used by men to assert dominance. From Ancient India to Ancient Rome, wisdom, strength and courage have all been associated with the growth of a beard.
Though, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Growing a beard is like watching a baby grow – it is a tangible representation of time, measured in length and not minutes.
The first step to grow is not to cut. So jettison the razor and trimmer and be patient. This stage is the easiest, with the initial hairy developments being most apparent. You will transform from baby-face Andrew to unkempt Andy in a few short weeks, and begin wondering why a slight layer of face stubble is suddenly noticed by your colleagues.
I find the best method of dispelling workplace banter is by cultivating pride in your beard. Shed mundane comments with the deep-seated knowledge that you are fulfilling your prehistoric destiny.
Physically, your face, neck and chin are going to itch. This is as your skin is now sprouting little sharp hairs that will eventually curl back on themselves and stab you in the face. Though this stage is short – generally one to two months before gravity pulls them down – it can be uncomfortable. That’s why I recommend applying beard oil a couple times a week to keep your masterpiece feeling and looking good. This is your introduction to beard grooming products. Take pride in your grooming and shop online at Buccaneer Grooming.
Depending on your social or employment status, it may be important that you trim your beard. For the couch-dwelling welfare types, this doesn’t apply to you. Keep doing what you’re doing (basically nothing). But for the working man the initial beard can be quite unsightly. While every beard is different, catfish moustache, shabby hobo curls and patchy face affects almost everyone, except the most biologically endowed.
So trim. I would recommend beard scissors over a trimmer. Not only do they provide an old-school barber shop feel they also remove the risk of cutting a big patch out and ruining your hard work. Hedge your moustache back behind your upper lip. Cut your neck hair in a semicircle where your head starts. And generally trim any face hair that refuses to conform to the rest of your beard. However, conformity isn't for all of us so feel free to totally skip this recommendation and go all out regardless of your employment circumstances. In fact, we encourage this.
The clandestine bearded world will now become apparent to you. As you move down the street bearded men will replace leggy blondes as the masters of your attention.
When meeting strangers with beards, an instant hierarchy will be set based on length and style, within which you have no choice but to accept your designated position. This is by no means fixed given that you continue to grow.
In three months you can expect your beard to be in its unruly adolescence. In beard years it is an insolent teenager. It waves and curls and refuses to obey the discipline of the beard comb. You will quickly devolve from bearded nobleman into shabby bushman if you don’t learn to keep things under control.
At this stage I find the best form of beard inculcation is through daily rinses and a thorough wash once a week, thereby keeping it soft and malleable (note - do not use normal hair shampoo on your face, it will dry your skin out, cause beardruff and eventually split ends). Applying beard oil every day will help return the comb to its throne.
On your journey you may discover that your armpits and head hair aren’t alone in their differing pigmentation. Basically, you have a ginger beard, though don’t fear it. Though redheads have copped a lot of flack over the years (apparently that’s only because of Shakespeare), there are several advantages to having a bit of ginge: lumberjack status, you produce your own Vitamin D, and red hairs have less of a chance of turning grey. Wield it like a true warrior.
So it’s been four to five months since you released the beard. Your genetics have dictated the style and shape and with your careful guidance your beard is beginning to reach its full potential.
And your girlfriend hates you.
She must overcome 3 stages to reach full beard acceptance:
- At first she will deny the beard, convinced that it is a simple pipe-dream that will never reach fruition. She will move through denial as quick as the hair grows from your face, learning to accept that you are committed to the beard; which is now her adversary.
- Anger and bargaining. Here she may use underhand tactics of sexual refusal and withdrawing from the make-out during which you must simply have faith in your beard, love your beard, and reassert that you are doing this for yourself.
- The final stage is where she basically gives up – which usually takes a few months. She doesn’t even notice the beard anymore, and when her friends mention it, she becomes dejected and apathetic. However, what she will notice is how you now command social situations with sexy dominance and manly nonchalance that is sure to ignite her love for you; her bearded better half. This is the stage where we all want our girlfriends to be.
If you don’t have a girlfriend, well done, you have successfully grown a cool-babe discerning implement. Your beard will effectively analyse, test and pre-select any girl that you come into contact with. Only the most outgoing, heretical and assertively sensual ladies will be confident enough to take on the beard, so you won’t have any more awkward silences.
And basically, you will feel great. You cultivated the patience, confidence and charisma to distinguish yourself from the pack and release your inner-man.
Skills that you can incorporate into your everyday life.
Get creative and style your beard. There are myriad websites: /r/beards, Beardboard.com, and beardedgents.com, that can help you choose a style or shape best suited to you, so you can effectively express yourself through your beard.
So be yourself, grow yourself and groom yourself. And most importantly, learn from your beard.
And if you don’t like it, shave it off - Miles Bouchard.