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 am a balding man: I am here, it is falling out … get used it!

Kids always seem to say what others avoid or uncomfortable about in my experience and the kids in my life are no exceptions.  Looking at some photos from the past with my nephews a while ago, it did not take long for one of them to quip “did you have hair uncle Steve?”.

Let me be clear here: yes I once had a full head of luxurious hair (often styled in the glorious combination of flat top / mullet) and yes I am loosing my hair at Usian Boltesque speeds.  But here is the thing: I love being a balding man!

It is a funny thing to say because going bald is an “affliction” that seems to raise more comments than most from people.  I have heard all of the jokes before and indeed love nothing more than being self-depricating about the emerging barren skin on the top of my head.  Additionally I have been asked I reckon, conservatively, close to 500 hundred times by family, friends and colleagues as to whether I had considered heading to Ashley Martin or some such establishment.

Having again fallen into a discussion about getting an “advanced hair hat” yesterday, I had pause to think about why I was so virulently against such a proposition and why, indeed, I was so embracing of my impending baldness.  Setting aside the fact that one could see my baldness approaching like the advance of the Light Brigade in the future when one looks at my uncle “Chipsy” who has been bald or balding since he was 21, the fact is there are significant advantages to male pattern baldness that make embracing its war on my fast fading follicles all the more easy.

Off the top of my head (poor pun intended) here are some of the advantages of being a balding man in today’s society:

1. Saving money

When you are balding / bald there is an immediate impact on one’s hip pocket from all manner of sources.  For example, the formerly monthly visit to the barber or hairdresser for a “style cut” is no longer necessary as is the need for, if you are so inclined, an investment in all manner of hair products.  Why? Because you have no hair in the first place and the only haircut you need you can do your self in the comfort of your own home having purchased a set of clippers.  This concept extends even as far at the most mundane of things: shampoo. If you have no hair, shampoo does nothing extra that running a bar of soap over your head will not achieve so why bother with the extra expense.

2. Time savings

To state the obvious, some men spend an awfully long time getting ready for work in the morning.  My only reference points here are 12 months spent sharing a house with one bathroom with two other guys and the obvious fact that some of my staff, past and present, arrive at work so immaculately coifed that they look fresh from the salon.  Think about how much of your morning ablutions are taken up with washing, combing and styling your hair.  I have none of those problems and, indeed, save time every morning by having nature completely cut out the whole process of getting my hair ready for another arduous day behind my desk.

3. Hats, hats and more hats

The fact is that I love wearing a hat and, indeed, wore the same hat for a whole semester of university partly on a dare and partly just to irritate my mother.  Now, I have a more than valid reason to wear a hat at every opportunity.  Simply if I don’t wear a hat I will get a burnt head which: a. hurts like hell and b. has the obvious risks of cancer than run with exposure to UV rays.  I have seen enough of my father’s and grandfather’s mates who have had melanomas removed to not need any convincing that wearing a hat constantly is not a bad thing.  Here is the thing though: I love wearing hats anyway and have a collection that traverses beanies, trilbies, flat caps, akubras, baseball hats and my old Ipswich Cricket Association baggy bottle green.

Point out a man to me who proclaims that he does not like wearing a hat and I will declare him a liar.

4. Baldness and Beards go hand in hand

Have you ever noticed the high quotient of balding men who also have a beard? I am one and I reckon that if someone ever did a mathematical study on this topic they would find that balding men with beards far outweigh those with a full head of hair with a beard.  The rationale for this is obvious: we can not grow hair on our heads so we will do so on our faces instead!  There may be another rationale to this too that is related to the second advantage I posit above.  If you are, as I am, enamoured with the time savings gained from not having hair on top of my head anymore you might also find yourself leaving the shaving part of your morning routine out.  Again, gentlemen think of the time savings!

All things considered then things are starting to look up for the balding man.  So why then the stigma of baldness that I noted above? Deep down I think those of you with more full heads of hair than the balding man are just jealous of the simpleness of the balding man’s life.  I mean why else would there be a whole sub-group of balding men, the “faux bald”, who go out of their way to style themselves as being without hair?



With that thought, I leave  you with a vote of thanks to my Uncle and indeed the whole male line of my mothers family: genetically I could not have done it without you!