Beard Lessons

Some men have rugged jawlines and cleft chins. They walk through the world with faces carved from high quality marble, or at the least, granite.

I’m not one of those men. My face is made from mushy dough and lumpy mashed potatoes. Worse, it all just sort of melts down onto my neck.

I have two choices:

  1. Live life as a waxy man-frog, or
  2. Grow a beard

Obviously, I grew a beard. At least with a beard I can pretend to have a jawline. I might even claim some level of ruggedness.

I’ve finally developed a happy beard routine, but it’s been an evolution, since the days I first grew real facial hair.

I won’t talk about my first attempts at bearding. As a teenager, I didn’t think I’d ever grow facial hair. My father is a clean-shaven kind of guy, so I didn’t think it was a thing I’d have to worry about.

Then, I entered my early twenties and jagged copper wires sprang-forth from my skin at an alarming rate. Even worse, I learned quickly I have extremely sensitive skin and back then, I could only afford cheap, disposable razors.

So, I stopped shaving. Completely.

My beard grew in, full and curly. It ran all the way up my cheeks close enough to my eyes I sometimes wondered if I’d been bitten by a lycanthrope.

I grew out my hair, too. Because you know what looks awesome? When your lumpy, melon head is covered in piles of greasy, stringy hair.

Fortunately, I eventually realized I looked like a dirty poof mop. Even more fortunate, it all went down in a time when digital cameras still cost a hefty amount of money and I’ve avoided most pictographic evidence.

So, one day I got a haircut, a $10 set of clippers, and a belief I could manage the fringe.

Keeping a beard trimmed to a tolerable level is easy with a set of clippers. Keeping it in beard shape instead of a patch of felt fur, difficult.

So, every time I tried to clean up the beard, I ended up uneven.

There is nothing worse than an uneven beard. So I’d try to even it out. After a few dozen rounds, I’d end up baby-face smooth.

So, I’d get two days of mashed potato head man as my beard grew back, then two days with a glorious, perfect beard.

Then I shave and start the whole process over again.

It took years, but I have learned how to keep my beard even. I don’t use clippers anymore. It’s all barber scissors and high quality razors.

Oh, and about five different oils, balms and lotions.

I take about ten minutes to go through my beard ritual. Longer if I have to clip and trim the edges.

But, it’s worth it.

I can almost claim my neck and head are separate entities.

Really, that’s worth all the trouble.