Walter Cronkite, arguably the greatest broadcaster that the US has ever produced, was once referred to as the most trusted man on television. Through wars, presidential administrations, and all tragedies and triumphs in between, he stood by America’s side and told them the truth, regardless of his personal opinions or political leanings. Additionally, he also had a mustache, which would almost be unthinkable in today’s TV landscape. However, for those who we’ve come to trust in today’s television landscape, most of whom are (unsurprisingly) comedians, they’ve begun ditching the completely shaven look they’re all but forced to adopt on camera for a hairier, more natural bearded state after departing from TV life.
After finishing up their respected times on air, Jon Stewart, David Letterman, and Stephen Colbert, who did go back to his completely shaven look after his TV hiatus came to a close last month, have all adopted retirement beards as their styles of choice, each more illustrious than the next. Colbert in particular went for it, dubbing his new man mane the “Colbeard” and furthering his outward obsession with all things Tolkien and Middle Earth-related. To learn even more about Colbert’s bearded decision making, check out his episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee with a scruffy, but never fully bearded, Jerry Seinfeld.
The question though is why do these well-respected funny men opt for a beard after years of staying baby smooth on camera for the entire world to see? Well, the answer is most likely in the question itself. When you’ve spent as much time on camera as each of these guys has, Letterman takes the cake at more than 30 years behind the desk, you can imagine that having your hair and makeup done nightly can lead to a bit of burnout in terms of looking camera-ready all the time. Instead, now that each of these gents is essentially retired (besides Colbert), they don’t need to worry about being constantly primed for a TV audience, along with whatever stipulations come down from the powers that be at their respective networks.
Obviously we’re not all famous comedians, or whatever Jon Stewart evolved into during his run on The Daily Show, but the example they’ve set is worth following for all the retired beardsmen out there, regardless of their experience with laying down the razor. Here are some suggestions for embracing the beardsman within while enjoying your retirement years.
Let It Grow
A lot of men go for years and years, or even decades, without letting their facial hair grow out for more than a weekend or a week of vacation at most. When you opt to try out the retirement beard though, it’s best to give it some time. Over time beards have a tendency to thicken and if this your first time opting for an actual beard, your facial hair might be quite different than what you remember. Just like we have to remind first time beardsmen on the younger end of the spectrum, beards don’t grow overnight, but the longer you let it go then the better it will fill in and take on the hearty girth you’re looking for.
Embrace The Grey (Or White)
A lot of men, including my own 71 year old father, opt to continue shaving regularly because of the reality of their beard’s coloring. It’s true, most of you who’ve reached retirement age will be sporting beards in the grey to white spectrum, but why should that stop any of you? Hemingway, Sean Connery, and Jonathan Goldsmith, aka Dos Equis’ most interesting man in the world, are all great examples of men simply saying “screw it” and embracing their more matured look. Both Colbert and Stewart, two guys with pretty dark heads of hair, sprouted beards with hearty mixes of light grey and white and they’ve never looked more like their true selves. Age is a part of who you are, why hide from it?
Zero F*cks Given
Look, you’re a man who’s accomplished things. At this point in your life you’ve seen it all, from births to deaths to disasters of all kinds. Frankly, if you like your beard then embrace it fully and walk forth confidently. As we all know, some people simply don’t dig facial hair and that’s just fine. On top of that, most folks are probably quite used to you being completely shaven, but guess what? They’ll get used to it. After years of feeling the pressure to shave you should feel comfortable presenting yourself in whatever way you prefer. Beard on, well seasoned retiree. Beard on and prosper (leisurely).