A Month of Growing A Beard

0, 20, and 32 days after beard growth began.

0, 20, and 32 days after beard growth began. (The day 0 photo was actually from about a year and a half before I started growing a beard. It was the only straight-on, straight faced photo available.)

Growing a beard for a month was intended to be an exercise in humility.

For years I’ve never allowed more than a few days worth of hair growth on my head & neck before I’d eradicate it. This regular hair removal did an mediocre job of hiding the balding on the top of my head that was starting to leave a horseshoe of about the front & back of my head, and it also hid the greying I’d noticed on my chin when my stubble grew a bit too long.

For the month of November, I decided to stop removing hair from my head and face. Curiosity was another motivating factor. I’d never grown a beard before – always giving up before getting through the itchy phase. I was also curious to see how bad my balding would actually look these days when I grew my hair out.

So, I grew my beard and hair for a month.

And two things happened that I didn’t expect:

First, I became less self conscious about the balding and greying. With the locations of the thinning patches more clearly outlined by my remaining hair, and with the grey beard hairs displayed in all their glory on the front of my face, there was no chance of hiding the truth.

When an inconvenient truth can be partially concealed, one can spend an inordinate amount of effort and brainpower on keeping it hidden. When all hope of concealment was abolished, it no longer made sense to apply brainpower to it.

This decreased concern over my hair situation didn’t take any effort on my part. It just happened naturally. And I don’t want to give the wrong impression; the balding and greying were never a major concern of mine – more of a minor annoyance – but the decreased worrying about my appearance was a definite and welcome change.

The second thing I didn’t expect: I didn’t end up looking quite as hideous as I’d anticipated. And some other people seemed to agree (or maybe they were just relieved to have some hair hiding my even-more-hideous face). My grandmother said I look like “somebody” now. (I wonder who I looked like before?)

And so, due to the aforementioned benefits, as well as the fact that it’s winter here and the extra insulation on my head is nice, I’ve decided to keep the hair on my face and head, at least for a while.

So there you have it. A few paragraphs about something as dull as not shaving for a while.


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