beard is good

Having lost a little over 50 pounds and wishing to change my appearance further, I wanted to grow a beard.  No Shave November was coming up so I thought it would be a great time to try it.  I have always wanted to, mostly just to see if I could, but also to see how I’d look with one.

I thought growing a beard would reduce blemishes while covering up current ones (which it has).  I thought having a beard would save time not having to shave (which it hasn’t because trying to groom the beard is just as time consuming as shaving it off).  I also thought it would be cool to grow a thick beard and use it as a shield.  You know how some people can hide behind their glasses or heavy makeup?  I don’t have those options so I thought I could keep people at a distance with my beard.  For a dude who sometimes strongly craves a connection with others, I also want to push myself away a lot of the time.  I know.  It’s messed up.

I actually stopped shaving mid-October when I took my staycation because I have never grown one before and I knew Thanksgiving was coming up so I wanted to try to get a pre-beard going so I could shape it up and make it presentable in front of the relatives in time for the holiday.

After a week of not shaving, I went back to work and was surprised to find a positive response.  For me, I thought I looked just kind of dirty.  But all the girls not only approved but gave me a lot of compliments.  It was nice.  It was also very surprising.  I always thought girls generally shied away from fuzzy faced men.  Sure, there are ladies who are happy with hirsute gentlemen but I thought they were in the minority.  I was wrong.

Amazingly, the general consensus was that my beard is good.

I’ve learned a lot about my beard this month.  First of all, it’s a multitude of colors, ranging from brown to blonde to-get this-red!  In fact, a large patch of hair on my right cheek is a nice coppery color.  Who knew I was a ginger?  I guess that partly explains why I have no soul.

Also, it grows in every direction possible.  The hair on my left side grows down.  The hair on my chin grows to the right and the  hair on my right side actually grows toward horizontally across my cheek.  This has made it difficult to maintain the uniformity of the beard while trimming.  I don’t know if trimming is allowed during No Shave November.  It probably isn’t but I work with the public so I have to maintain some sense of being groomed.

Not only did I want to cut down on the mountain man look but I also hoped frequent trimming would tame the quickly growing hairs while allowing for the tiny baby hairs to catch up and fill in.

Now, No Shave November is over and although I didn’t exactly grow the beard just for November but in some ways, I’m ready to shave it off.  Now I face a seemingly unimportant decision:  do I shave or do I keep it?  It’s not a decision I’m taking lightly.  I’m not developing an ulcer over it or anything but I’ve worked really hard on this bad boy.  I’ve clipped and trimmed and plucked and sculpted and shampooed and washed and itched and scratched and sure if I shave it, it will grow back.  But it took a long time to get it the way it is now and I don’t want to have to go through all that prep again.

Plus, I’m saving a lot on razors.

I don’t like the texture, though.  My facial hair is coarse and unruly.  Despite shampooing and conditioning and even rubbing some argon oil in there in hopes of making it nice and soft and shiny, it doesn’t feel any better.

I’m also a bit astounded at the positive follicle feedback I’ve received.  It makes me a bit jumpy.  I know you might not believe me but I’m just not used to a lot of compliments (at least outside of OD).  Sure, I’ve gotten them from time to time but the beard must have improved my looks because I’ve been getting more compliments and it’s giving me the creeps.  I’m not used to the positive attention and it makes me want to shave it off.  I thought people would hate it and that would make me want to grow it longer and longer but now that they like it, I want to get rid of it and go back to having a smooth yet undefined face.  I want to rebel.

What’s wrong with this guy, right?

I suppose I should keep it, at least for now.  As much as I miss my smooth face, I like this look.  It’s different and interesting and something new to entertain me.  Maybe I’ll just trim it down short and keep it neat and tidy for a while.  Maybe I’ll keep it for the rest of the year and then shave it off in January.  Maybe I’ll keep it until I reach my goal weight.  Shed pounds, shed facial hair.  Another change to my appearance.  Always switching it up.  I like that.

No Shave November progression.

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