Apart from mouths, beards and facial hair are the second hungriest parts in the human anatomy. Except they don’t actually eat that often – they horde. When bearding, each bite of food is a roll of the dice to see whether it actually ends up being tasted, masticated and digested or simply caught in the hairy limbo of the upper lip, flava sava or chin hair and stored for greater days.
You see the beard and the mouth are in constant competition for food and, as the brains behind this operation, it is up to us to ensure the transition from plate to mouth is as unencumbered as possible. Not only for the sake of our nutrition and wellbeing but also because eating is beautiful and when this process becomes tarnished by trips to the restaurant bathroom to see how much sauce is smothered in our beards then self-consciousness has a tendency to mask the finer things in life. So here are three secrets to give your mouth the upper hand over your upper lip.
1. Utensils are sensible
Whenever we are served a plate of food there is a primal voice inside of all of us that yearns to jettison the knife and fork and bury our hands and face into the chow, wolf it down and then howl to the moon. However, for the modern man this is generally unacceptable and for the bearded man it is simply self-sabotage.
While there are certain foods that seem married to the hand-to-mouth method of eating – burgers, sandwiches, pizza, burritos – when bearding this style become perilous. So depending on the situation, I mean if you’re grubbing at home with the boys then who gives a fuck, but if you are at a board conference or meeting a client out for lunch then the knife and fork and spoon are indispensable.
These helpful tools allow you to regulate the size of each bite and control the direction that it enters your mouth thereby ensuring that it bypasses the hairy catcher that will attempt to snag the morsels and turn you into a savage.
NB: For drinks, especially of the milky variety, look to straws to keep your beard clean and fresh.
2. Maintain restraint around liquid foods
By god soup is delicious. See also: cereal and noodle broth. There is something about tipping hot liquid into your belly that is so reassuring, so cozy, so safe. Though, when eating liquids your beard will attempt to make mischief.
Solid food caught in your beard is one thing – easily detected and removed – however liquids are a different beast. When liquid misses your mouth the beard instantly absorbs it and like a greedy sponge it will store all the smells and flavours until your next shower. So unless you want to smell like a bowl of milk and cornflakes or stale beer then it is best to learn how to consume liquids safely.
When eating with a spoon it is best to shrink your portion sizes so that when it enters your mouth there is no chance of the soup or cereal or broth being absorbed by your beard – less is more. Another neat trick is holding your beard back to prevent it from dipping into your food while you eat.
3. Sweet treats beware
Beards have a sweet tooth like a 12- year old kid on Easter. I mean they fucking love sugary things. Whether it is doughnuts, ice cream or syrup (especially syrup), beards will attempt to scoop these foods up and prevent them from entering your mouth.
The worst thing about getting sugar in your beard is that it has a tendency to caramelise your hair, causing all the follicles to stick together in a matted mess which will require an immediate wash. So when eating a doughnut cut it up first. With ice cream opt for a cup rather than a cone. And with syrup – good luck, this shit is almost impossible to contain, and best avoided at all costs.
So while beards should never inhibit a man from doing what he wants there are a definitely a few guidelines which, when followed, will prevent you from strutting around town assuming you are getting checked out by everyone only to return home and find a wad of salami and cheese hanging from your beard. Unless, you want that.
- Miles Bouchard