Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pros and Cons of My Awesome Beard

This is not me. Unfortunately.

So if you are my mother or perhaps one of my three swooning female fans, you might ask "When are you going to shave your beard so we can see your beautiful face?" When confronted with this I usually deflect the question and weasel my way out of it. I do this because a) I am a very, very humble man and do not like to be the center of attention and b) this is a question I struggle with on a daily basis.

It's not that I don't like my beard. I really do. It's just that like most things there are pros and cons to its existence. Not everything in my life is rosy, despite my royal pedigree. Let's first look at the cons.


1. It tends to grow wild. I attribute this to my savage Polish ancestry. I can't grow those short cool beards like some of the men out there. Mine needs a little length before it starts to look good. The plus (or minus) of this is that I can get a Karl Marx-style beard growing if I want to. Another cool side effect of a long beard for me is that I can hide stuff in it. Last year I put pencils in it, hair clips, whatever. You couldn't even see the stuff.

But in the end, the length tends to be a disadvantage. It is difficult to maintain a decent length because, as hair is wont to do, it continues to grow. This growth manages to sneak up on me at times too. I will not think to trim my beard and then one day I wake up and I look homeless. It just goes in all different directions. Do you know how sometimes you will have an eyebrow or eyelash that gets in your field of vision? Imagine having that all over your face. There have been times when I have been in work meetings and have noticed two-inch-long beard hairs sticking straight off of my face. That's not cool. I've also gotten my beard caught in the zippers of high-collared jackets before.

The other issue that piggybacks off of this is moustache maintenance. I hate having to deal with that. It's always overgrowing and getting in the way. I try to keep it trim but there are always some that slip past. When I find these stray long hairs, I constantly play with them with my tongue, which probably makes me look weird in public and helps to unnecessarily chap my lips. I can't win.

2. Beard dandruff. That's correct. I get dandruff in my beard. I never figured this would be an issue, but I guess when you don't shave, the skin on your face gets dry and flakes off. When I scratch my beard, forget about it. It's like a snowstorm. If I do it on a flat surface, I can then collect it and it looks like grated parmesan cheese. Gross.

Now this obviously gets all over my dark clothes so I am constantly brushing myself off. I have tried all kinds of facial moisturizers too. In any bearded dudes know of something that works, holla at your boy. I want to be rid of this.

3. The beard catches food. Ned Flanders called his moustache a flavor saver and he wasn't kidding. You get all kinds of things caught in your beard. And since it is hair, you sometimes don't know about it until someone tells you. Once I got a glob of mayo trapped in my beard inexplicably under my chin and out of sight. I didn't find it until that night before bed, when it had dried around the beard hairs and started to smell rank. Great. That's absolutely awful.

That's not an isolated incident either. If I am eating something with sauce, its on my beard and I am powerless.

Enough complaining. On to the Pros.


1. I look super totally awesome. My beard is thick and rich. It is also quite soft and not at all bristly. A drunk dude at a bar once told me that I had the greatest beard in existence. This was unsolicited too. He was also drunk, but that's neither here nor there.

The beard also helps to affect a rugged, outdoorsy look which I am only too happy to keep going. I was kind of going for that when I was clean shaven, so this works even better.

2. It really does help to keep my face warm when the wind picks up. It also catches the snow, which makes me look like a mountaineer (see Pro #1).

3. It's slimming. Having a big, dark clump of hair makes my face look more slender than it really is. The beard also helps to disguise my jowlyness under my chin area. This is indispensable. If I shaved today, my face would look like a beluga whale's.

4. It helps me to save money on razors and shaving cream. This is self-explanatory. Most times I don't even use shaving cream when I do my trimming. I just wet parts of my face and do it.

There you have it. I would say the beard isn't going anywhere for a while, but that would be dishonest. I am a creature of whims and sometimes I shave just because I can. But before I go clean-shaven, I treat myself to beard fun, where I will give myself muttonchops or a fu manchu or a Civil War beard or something rad like that. It's one of those things you have to experience to truly appreciate.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly with every beard pro you listed... And I've an anecdote to add to the food catcher con. One day, when I worked in an office I thought the whole place smelled like sour milk. I went running around to everyone in the place asking if they smelled it, too, and nobody else could. It was driving me crazy. Then, at some point, I was holding my head in my hand short of preening my beard (probably because I was feigning hard work) and noticed the smell got worse. It was then that I discovered the the chunk of rotting ice cream lodged deep in my hairy upper lip. I have never experienced beard dandruff (possibly because I can't grow one as thick as yours) but the flavor saver is a real problem. Sometimes, though, it's sort of nice... like when you're really thirsty and after you take a huge swig of water you get a delightful secondary trickling for a few moments....

    This topic might call for a regular appearance on your blog in some way, shape or form....

  2. You mean like "Tales of the Beard" or something like that? If so I would like to devote one whole column to the phenomenon that is your "Neard." I think the people would enjoy that.

    I also like the cold water drops you get after a big swig. It's the little things like that that get you through the day.

  3. I'm glad you addressesd the mayo situation. Are you going to get a nest of birds in there like peter griffin did?

  4. I felt I would be remiss if I glossed over the may problem. I also had some gravy in my beard the other day. It took a while to track down, even with help from a friend.

    I don't think I will keep my beard that long. It gets kind of itchy.

  5. "I don't think I will keep my beard that long. It gets kind of itchy." Statements like this make me question whether or not you even deserve to have a beard...

  6. I hate both of you, I can only grow a chin tee. Damn Asian genes!