To grow a bear or not to grow a beard…that is the question? Am I right? Of course I am! Making the choice to grow a beard is a big decision. It is going to be a statement that you not only make to the people you come into contact with, but more importantly, it is a statement and a commitment for yourself. When choosing to grow a beard you are saying, “I embrace what it means to be a man.” At least being a man via physical appearance. It’s a step in the direction of finding out what it truly means to be a man and that will eventually lead you to ask other questions and make other decisions. Such as, what does a man do? What are his actions, his responsibilities, his role?
Before we can really dig into those other questions, we need to understand why someone chooses to grow a beard and why someone, the gods forbid, choose a clean-shaven baby face and trim those precious face gems.
Choice Makes a Better Beard
Ultimately, the conscious choice to grow a beard is the ideal way to begin growing a beard, or take control of the beard you already have. When I started growing a beard, it was cool. I had a baby face and I liked the way a beard made me feel older and more mature. I spent years sprouting hairs from my face without really understanding what I was doing. Yeah, I chose to have a beard, but I didn’t understand what it meant. It wasn’t a conscious choice. I just thought it was cool.
What is the result of just growing a beard without it being a choice? For starters, you’re not going to put in the time to research how to take care of a beard. Grooming is probably not something you are doing, or doing correctly. You’ve also more than likely developed some bad beard habits like pulling on your beard, plucking hairs, and running your hands through it too often. Your beard, although awesome just because it is a beard, is probably not very kempt. A wild bush face is cool, but it is also a lazy beard. I’m not saying a lazy beard is a bad thing, but it’s the equivalent of wearing sweat pants and t-shirts all the time. And probably for too long between washings.
Part of being a man, and human, is taking care of ourselves and taking care of what we have. If you bought a brand new truck, for instance, and didn’t keep the interior cleaned, didn’t remove the trash, don’t stay up on oil changes and other maintenance…after a while, the truck is going to look pretty bad, and it definitely won’t last as long.
Respect your beard and yourself. Just because hair grows out of your face doesn’t mean you should let it grow wild and crazy. Take care of it. Learn about it. Treat it like a beard.
Why One Chooses To Grow A Beard
You’ve done some research, you’ve reached into your inner man, and you’ve decided that a beard is what you need on your face. What led you to that choice? For starters there are a lot of benefits to having a mane of glorious hair growing out of your face. It’s going to give you a tough, confident, and sexy look. And it’s not all looks. Men with beards are usually more confident than those with just skin faces.
For some it’s not so much about the benefits as it is about self-expression and style. Part of being human, and being a man, is expressing oneself to tell others about them via appearance. A beard can say a lot about a person depending on the style of it. You can project professionalism with a short, well groomed beard. If your goal is to project your inner toughness, strength, natural man, a full beard can do that for you. There are loads of styles to choose from and to experiment with that are going to send different messages to those that are lucky enough to see your beard…and you.
Others fall into the category of having beards for cultural or religious reasons. This is where I feel like choice is the most important. I’m all about asking questions. In our “modern” day big bushy beards are frowned upon. A hundred, two hundred years ago…big and bushy was the way to go. Why did it change? Who knows. Someone at some point decided that beards didn’t look proper or gentlemanly enough. It’s within these social and cultural constructs that it is so important to be conscious about our choices. Especially when it comes to beards…because beards.
Some grow beards because that’s what their religion or culture expects from them. I’ll refer to these types of beards in the future as sheep beards. And I wool not stop. Sheep beards are baaaaa’d. Any action or “choice” we make based on the influence of social pressure leads us down dangerous paths where folks don’t think and decide for themselves…their real selves.
If you are in a position where it is expected or even required to have a beard for religious or cultural reason, stop for a minute and really delve deep into yourself and ask yourself if this is what you want, what you can choose for yourself. If the answer is no, there’s going to be more self discovery and questions that’ll need to be asked and explored. If the answer is yes, then own that decision, that choice…own the beard.
Why Does a Man Shave Off His Beard
We can dive into the same cultural and religious reasons here. And you need to do the same. Ask yourself if that is what you want, if that is who you are. If not, then grow yourself a face full of hair.
Some men are taught, like I was as a child, that facial hair is messy, uncomely, and can’t be in the same category as clean, neat, professional. These messages aren’t always explicit or directly said, but we are still bombarded with the message that beards are bad. It continues even today. Unfortunately many a man succumb to these messages and spend their life in front of a mirror shaving off one of the most natural and awesome things ever conceived of in the universe. Not eyebrows…beards.
For similar reasons just stated, men associate this condition with different styles and ways to express themselves. If you associate messy and unprofessional with beards, and you want to be clean and professional, then you’ll probably find yourself scraping razors on your face.
I know for some, they can’t get past the first few weeks of growing out a beard. They don’t have the level of toughness required to deal with a little bit of itchiness as baby beard hairs stretch out and grow from their faces. I don’t really have anything positive to say about that. I mean, just deal with it. What kind of man gives up on awesomeness because it is temporarily uncomfortable? An un-man, that’s what kind.
If you fall in this next group, there’s really not much you can do. Some folks don’t have the genetics for facial hair. If you fall in this group, that’s totally alright. When it really comes down to it, you can own your genetics and express yourself as a man in other ways, the more important ones.
What It Comes Down To
Regardless of your ability to grow a beard or not, it really comes down to owning who you are and making conscious choices to better your life and the lives of those around you. A beard is a symbol of being a man. The way you grow a beard, or don’t grow one, and the manner in which you take care of your beard will say loads about the type of man that you are.
If you have a beard or don’t have one, take some time to ask yourself why. Do some research and some soul digging and get the information that you need so that your amazing facial hair forest or clean-shaven baby face is a real and conscious choice that you are making. Own it and be an awesome man.
Here’s to beards!