If you grow it, she will come...
Sorry, I didn’t know how to start this off. There comes a time in every man’s life when he will inevitably grow a beard. Or, at least he damn well should. The quality of the beard is often out of his hands. We are at the mercy of our genetics, to an extent. The question I pose to you: Are beards acceptable socially?
Just the other day a conversation arose (again) about my beard. Because my job does not require me to be directly engaged with customers, it is assumed that’s why I grow it to the extent it is. Supposedly my coworkers said, “If you were customer-facing you’d have to trim that up!” Wait a minute. Are you saying that my beard is unkempt or not groomed? Negative, sir. I care for my beard better than most care for their body. I eat appropriately, drink tons of water, exercise, apply proper shampoos, conditioner, balms and oil. I even have a beard brush and comb designed for my beard. I go to a barber who specializes in beards. If this is the case, why would I need to shave?
The great beard debate stems from way back to the whole “clean cut” look. I imagine that some dude who couldn’t grow a decent beard started this ridiculous trend. At some point around the turn of the century, or country became heavily focused on the perception of dress over character. That is to say, your character was defined by whether you wore slacks and a polo or a T-shirt with cutoffs and flippy-floppies. I agree that we should be clean and well-kept, but c’mon; we all don’t look so great stuffed into a pair of khakis.
So, is a beard not accepted? According to a study done by the market intelligence agency, Mintel, that “As many as six in ten (59%) consumers believe it looks unprofessional for men to have an ungroomed face in the workplace.”* Who decides what this statement means? The definition of “groomed” suggests that it means to be clean, brushed and tidy. That’s it. As long as you follow the rules of grooming, you should just Let It Grow!
We’re not saying go and get fired, but we are saying you should be part of the change. This is all bigger than a beard. This is about letting people be themselves and judging them by their character and actions. If you’re a slob with a beard, that speaks more to your lack of intestinal fortitude and character than the beard. The beard is a powerful tool and can be used for many different things. The beard allows us to be expressive and feel connected with our masculine roots.
In closing, I’ll say this: Be the proponent of change. If someone challenges you beard, look them square in the eye and tell them, “My beard has no bearing on my character. My beard grows from within -- the same as the hair on my head and the nails on my fingers. All of which are neat and orderly. Do not think to judge my character by my looks. That would be a mistake. Instead, let my actions show you my character and then… maybe … you’ll feel the need to also grow a beard.”
With great beard comes great responsibility.