I’ve had my beard for about 6 months now. I just decided that I don’t give a damn and with the harsh winters here in upstate New York, it’s a perfect excuse to wear the free chin-hat that God gave me. One of the challenges I’ve faced is taking the time to properly groom it. When I do neglect to keep my face-hairs nice and clean-looking, I get pretty disappointed in myself when I look in the mirror. That disappointment quickly gives way to a feeling of rebelliousness as I remember that I grew the thing because I don’t give a damn about what people think about my appearance.
One of the responses I’ve noticed from others (male and female) is that I definitely receive more respect. While most people would say that I already have an intimidating appearance without my beard, when I look back on certain interactions from 6 months ago when I was shaved clean, there difference in responses was night and day. While I don’t necessarily have a baby face, I have been told quiet frequently that I look at least 8 years younger than my biological age of 36. I believe that the difference between the responses I get when I’m bearded and when I’m baby-faced is due to the fact that because I’m perceived as younger, people tend to attach a level of immaturity to me.
I also think that I tend to be treated with more respect because people are not only seeing this wooly mammoth on my face; they’re also sensing the fact that I don’t give a damn about what others think of me. If I’m at the grocery store and I’m standing behind a person with a massive amount of groceries, 8 out 10 times they’ll let me cut them in line without my asking. It’s quite possible that they fear my lumberjack beard will take matters into its own hands and make room for me. This brings me to my next point: I believe that I’m receiving more respect because I’ve been told that my beard looks scary and I have to admit that there are times when my beard decides that it wants to expand its territory and move north, curling into my nostrils in a vain attempt to override my control of my brain and take control of the situation. I’m also hesitant to say this, but there is a part of me that actually enjoys making people jumpy. I think that every man wants to know that they are impacting the people around them.
One very odd response I’m receiving is from police officers. I’ve been pulled over literally 4 times in the last 3 months, for issues that could have easily cost me several hundreds of dollars. In every interaction with the officers, I was sent off with a warning. When I tell friends about my experiences, they are flabbergasted and they attribute it to my ever-growing chin-bun. I tend to agree.
I’ve even been given free postage: I had to return some items that my wife ordered, which meant that I had to take a trip to my local big-name mail delivery center. Long story made short, after a little bit of small talk, as I went to my wallet to pay for this box to be returned, she stopped me and told me not to worry about it. She saved me 10 bucks. Had I been clean shaven, I don’t think that this would have even been a possibility.
Overall, I think that just having a beard has increased the amount of masculinity I project by at least 500 percent. This is not to say that a man that doesn’t wear a beard isn’t masculine; this is my saying to you clean shaven men out there to take a chance and allow your beard to grow out. Not only will you save money on razors; you’ll also be pleasantly surprised.