Beards and writers are inseparable. So much so, it’s a symbiotic relationship. The beard is the secret driving force behind literary excellence in men. The muse. The whisperer of greatness – a creature that uses its filaments to ensnare truths and revelations, digest them and feed them to its host. Naturally, I had to have one.
Peak beard, I resembled a 19th Bulgarian revolutionary, who’s been doing revolutionary stuff – aka a person who hasn’t had the time to go to a barber. In the months since peak beard, I’ve trimmed and shaped, invoking any and all dark powers, but the end result was this:
Suffice it to say, mistakes were made. Novice mistakes and after a particularly disastrous trim I decided to start all over again. Writers who want hefty facial covering, hark! Listen to my lament!
Mistakes First-Time Growers Should Avoid:
- Beard oil – essential. I decided to skip the beard oil, because grooming products just sounded too vain and self-absorbed. I mean… Men have been growing beards since time immemorial and they probably did it without beard oil. It’ll be fine. Wrong. Ancient Mesopotamians used a form of beard oil (research!). They knew what was up.
- Combing – from using the wrong comb to not practicing regular combing – have your pick – I was a disaster at this. The hair was coarse (this is why you need beard oil) and grew out in all possible direction but the one I wanted it to grow. It’s a look. Just not possible to pull off unless you’re a revolutionary engaged in partisan warfare.
- Shaping – seriously, do not shave too low from your cheekbones, especially if you have a rounder, fuller face. Your cheeks will droop and you might get mistaken for Saint Bernard. But you do need to shave your neck up to a point. Popular wisdom says up to two fingers above your Adam’s apple.
- Trimming – unless you have steady, precise hands and the right scissors, leave this to the professionals or you’re guaranteed bald spots, uneven lines and so much heartache.
I’m interested in seeing how long it will take me to grow a beard and what the results will be when I follow the advice of professionals. GQ has a substantial catalog of articles on facial hair, so that’s my starting point. Hopefully, this will be a weekly thing on my blog.
Day 0. Time-travelling is quite doable. All you need to do is grow a beard until you look like you’ve spent the past year living off the land in an attempt to evade the law and charges for tax evasion, poor small talk form and wearing a onesie out in public… Then shave.