The Bearded Man: Don’t be a sheep be a shepherd!

I have written here before about my beard and my guide to having a beard (  I was asked the other day by someone who had known me long the following question: 

So what is the story with the beard: are you just another hipster trying to look cool?

Now obviously this uninformed person does not read this blog nor do they know me well because never in all of my 36 years could I have ever been considered to be a hipster nor do I really know what a hipster is.  

That question though did spark a conversation about the seeming current popularity in men, indeed even in male models, to having a beard.  I had cause to joke during that discussion about the fact that, in my own view (sarcastically expressed), I actually had a beard before the current crop of hipsters and, in fact, I may well be responsible for “bringing it back” (sarcasm again intended). 

As I trimmed my beard this morning I again had cause to ponder the art of “beardage” and the fact that, as with most things in life, growing a beard should be a matter of personal choice and not something done just because it is, all of a sudden, popular to have one. 

More to the point: if you want to have a beard, whether it be a trimmed effort or a full blown Ned Kelly type, grow one.  Just don’t be a sheep and do it to be “cool”.  

I, for one, can not see myself shaving off my beard … ever! That will inevitably mean that during my life I will go through a number of periods of beard unpopularity and then renewed popularity and I will, no doubt, be again asked the question quoted above and, no doubt, I will again answer sarcastically that I am responsible for “bringing the beard back (again)”.


I have a beard and I am proud!

It would be fair to say that right from the first moment my mother mistook my burgeoning fuzz on the top lip as news print on my face I have been regularly lax with the removal of stubble from my face. I have over the course of my 22 years since that memorable day variously worn my facial hair as a goatie, a soul patch, a moustache, the “Elvis” and of course with a beard.

Until probably 4 years ago my shaving routine and my regular sprouting of stubble in various shapes and forms was principally the result of bone idleness on my part and my never ending quest to find new and different ways to irritate “the Red Baron” (for new readers my mother).

I come from a long line of moustached and bearded men: for the first 16 years of my life my Dad has a moustache and my Uncle Greg (Dad’s little brother) has had a beard for as long as I can remember and in every photo (save for photos of Dad and Greg as kids) I have seen of him. I never really got the “why” part of them having such facial additions going on until four years ago when, during another period of bone idleness that had lead to about a 5 week growth, I had an epiphany: simply put “BEARDS RULE”.

And here is why I think so:

1. My beard keeps my face warm in winter.
2. My beard protects my face from sunburn.
3. My beard, in the words of one my nephews, makes it look like I have more hair.

That being the case, I am again (after a hiatus from the beard for around 12 months and various periods of idleness that lead to the perception of a beard forming that were mere flirtations) growing my beard. This has lead me to the realisation that I ought set some guidelines for again wearing the beard. So here is Shumpty’s guide for beard growing:

1. Commitment is the key: going into growing a beard if you are not committed will lead to the inevitable removal of the beard during the period referred to in rule 2.
2. Your beard is going to itch for the first 2 to 5 odd days: stay strong as once you are through this period you will have few more issues.
3. Every grower of the beard is entitled to impart their own style on their beard. Be it a full Ned Kelly or a regularly trimmed back (a 3 blade normally works for me) growth go with what you are comfortable with.
4. A limitation to rule 3 is that manscaping your beard so that it is just a line of stubble around the jawline means you do not have a beard and you have far to much time on your hands.
5. Hair dyes and gels should never touch your beard.
6. The individual grower of their beard has the right to determine in what circumstances they will shave off their beard (if ever).

I hope these guidelines help anyone thinking about growing a beard with their decision but if you are considering going down the path to bearddome remember Rule 1: commitment is the key!

Now I know that many of my twitter followers, family, friends and work colleagues do not like the beard. Whilst I respect the opinions of all and sundry, my beard is my choice, I like it and it is here to stay for a while … at least until the end of winter.