One thing that I think is dearly missing from corporate America is the beard. Ah the illustrious beard! Worn by the most noble, wise, and independent of men. Men of great battles, leaders throughout the ages, and your common hippie all have sported the beard in one way or another.
But what about the corporate leaders? They currently leave their face womanly smooth, with no pretense that hair should grow on their faces, and that should change. They model themselves after the political stooges, snakes in the courtrooms, and used car salesmen. The clean shaven look is no look for an honest, hard working American man. It is the look of a crook, a sleezebag, or a boy.
We are in the middle of a shift from the clean shaven to the stubble. Many celebrities now sport some type of facial hair to even the most black tie of events. Movies like Harry Potter portrait the villains as clean shaven while the lovable heroes are typically bearded.
A recent study shows that women prefer men with facial hair over a clean shaven man. Chad Skelton dives into the science of the advantages of a beard in the workforce in this article – but I don’t want to spend too much time talking about that. What I want to talk about is you, being a man, and embracing that. There is no need to apologize for being a man.
There are millions of men working in cubicles, labs, offices, and out in the field who wish to grow a beard only to fear society. For those people, what you show be fearing is not being yourself. If you want to grow a beard, then do it – don’t let your internal demons hold you back.
I have been bearded for most of my professional career in various styles and lengths. I’m sure people have judged me because of my beard, or maybe my socks, or my hair, or my clothes, or even my height and weight – but I can’t stop that. However, when I go to bed at night I can sleep well knowing that the world I show is me and not a shell of what society wants me to be.
So I’ve convinced you to grow your first beard, here is a quick list of suggestions to help that transition.
- Start while on vacation, or a long weekend if you are a fast grower. Frequently my last clean shave would be on a Wednesday, then I would have a fine stubble on Thursday and a day off on Friday. When I came in on Monday, I would have a trimmed short beard, nice.
- Most men have patches or areas that don’t come in as quickly (or at all). The best thing to do is grow a full beard, and let it grow over time. Trim it as needed to your liking, but don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t all show at once. Most people won’t look as intensely at your beard as you do and won’t notice the patches. Ultimately you can shape your beard to optimize your facial hair growth, if it is too patchy.
- Don’t be a girl and complain about how itchy it is. It only lasts for a couple of days and the best remedy is again to grow it slightly longer. If it’s really bad you can get oils and conditioner to help soften the hairs.
- If you want a shaped beard it is best to grow the full beard first, then shape it after about 6 weeks or so.
- Haters gonna hate. Typically the people that are going to bash your beard growing process are those that are too afraid to grow out themselves, or those that can’t grow a beard. It’s best to ignore those. If it’s your wife or significant other tell them that you need their support as you try to be who you want to be.
- If you can’t ignore them, then dress nicer than normal as you grow your beard. Make sure your shirts are clean and ironed, your presentation is well put together, and you aren’t wearing screen printed ties from the 90’s. It’s hard for people to criticize your appearance when you are dressed nicer than them.
- Compliment other bearded guys, and share your experiences with other beard growers. One forum I just found is www.beardboard.com and it’s very active with a lot more tips and experiences from others.
If you like a bit of confrontation here are some good retorts for negative comments people will say. Of course the best answer is to respond to these with humor and a smile on your face.
- “You are too lazy to shave.” -> “You are too lazy to brush and groom a beard.”
- “You look like a terrorist.” -> “Abraham Lincoln was a terrorist.”
- “Did you forget to shave?” -> “No. Haters gonna hate.” (then walk off like this guy)
- “I like you better without a beard.” -> “Burn! I can’t believe your level of liking me is based on my facial hair.”
- “You look better without a beard.” -> “Ya, but I feel much better with one.”
Best of luck to all of those who are ready to take the step from clean shaven to bearded.