Starcat 1 by my favourite artist

Friday, 18 January 2013

Why Growing a Beard is a Good Thing

As the hair recedes from the top of my head, it sprouts from my chin. Initially, MBWNMI, or my beard was not my idea (very bad joke, sorry), but I soon warmed to it as I weighed up the disadvantages:
1) It makes you look old.
2) You dribble soup on it. Here's a solution
3) Ladies, be careful not to annoy people with long Monty Python sketch quotations (See 1 & 2 below).
4) It can drive you crazy at night if you fall foul of the "beard inside or outside the sheets?" conundrum that so exercised Captain Haddock in the Tintin books.
5) At first it itches.
6) It needs trimming.
7) It frightens children (though this is not necessarily a disadvantage).
8) Birds nest in it - I believe that some old gentlemen in Switzerland boast impressive cuckoo beards.
9) Some beards just look stupid.
10) People might mistake you for Jesus.

And the advantages:
1) Nowadays it's an equal opportunities facial adornment.
2) If you're a woman, you can wear your she-beard and pretend you're in The Life of Brian stoning of the adulteress scene. Or if you have a real beard, you can hide it behind the she-beard.
3) Soup dribbled onto your beard doesn't stain your shirt, but you might have to pick out the bits.
4) It's economical. Razors and shaving foam last longer because there is less face to shave.
5) You can use the razor economies to shave your back and, if necessary, the palms of your hands.
6) It's cosmetic. If you have a double chin, it may help disguise it. Not my case, I hasten to add.
7) If you're wanted by the police, you can shave it off and look baby-facedly innocent. Ditto.
8) You can play with it when you're bored.
9) And if you're lucky, seem very intellectual too.
10) People might mistake you for Jesus.
11) You can pull individual strands out and use them to tickle/annoy your partner or children - this is best done on their neck or back or up their nostrils when they are half asleep.
12) When it gets long enough, you can stick part of it in your mouth and disgust family and friends (best done in private), but don't forget to wash it afterwards. I think that as far as disgust-your-family activities go, it ranks second only to tricks with false teeth and glass eyes.
13)  When it gets even longer you can have an impressive goatee.
14) When it gets even longer than that, you can plait it and pretend you're a Viking.
15) When you plait it, you can attach little parachutes to the end and let it stream out behind you when you're on your motorbike (not really recommended at high speeds and when you've got someone on the pillion).

That is why, on balance, growing a beard is definitely a Good Thing.


  1. An imaginative, amusing and well thought out piece.

    I have had very little contact with beards, whether from inside or outside. When I went to university it was quite a thing among undergrads to grow beards and take up pipe smoking. I took up the pipe but not the beard.

    The reason for this is that I couldn't grow a beard if paid handsomely to do so. If I do not shave for a few days, all that grows is a few bristles too far apart ever to qualify as a beard, no matter how long they become. I would simply look bizarre.

    Unfortunately, I cannot forego the chore of shaving for if I did I would look, well, like someone in need of a shave. This is therefore strictly no-win territory.

    When I was young, I wished I could grow a beard and I even enquired whether there was a medicine or lotion that would encourage the growth of facial hair. However, as I become older, I find I have an increasing dislike of beards and would not now grow one even if I could. Perhaps psychologists would see displaced envy in this.

    Beards look sweet on goats but do men no favours (in my personal view, of course).

  2. I'm rather attached to my face fungus, I must admit. As for facial hair or the lack thereof, I have a theory that is still in the develoment stage:
    1) Middle-age follicular migration. As we all know, gravity plays havoc with the human body, dragging everything downwards over time. Perhaps the same mechanism is at work with our follicles, ie, we don't go bald per se - quite simply the hair travels southwards - and in some cases it travels westwards to the back as well.