I’ve been growing my beard out since October-ish of last year. Which is to say I kinda forgot to trim it sometime in October and figured I might as well let it grow out, since that’s easier than having to figure out where my clippers are. This ultimately led to more work though (as detailed in this article), so ya know, do the small tedious thing up front and save lots of tedium later (what’s true for beards is true for life, son!).
The response to having a beard has been, in general, positive. I’ve been complimented on numerous occasions, and in very random situations (e.g. I walk through the metal detector at JFK and the TSA guy gives me props for my beard). Dudes tend to give me a little more respect. It hasn’t really advanced my love life, but I don’t think that’s because of the beard (as the saying goes, you can put a beard on a desert, but it’s still a thing that women will avoid).
Really the only downside thus far has been beard fatigue. Yes that’s a thing. Ask a dude with a beard. Or just take my bearded word for it. Beard fatigue is pretty self-explanatory, but if you don’t get it, it’s just getting tired of the beard. It can be summed up with the statement “This beard is meh.” Beard fatigue is generally combated with the aforementioned boosts in confidence along with laziness in shaving. But there is one thing that, when combined with beard fatigue, is detrimental to beards. And that is the summer.
When you’re in the thick of winter a beard is great. It’s a scarf that goes with you at all times. It kinda sucks when you get little icicles in your beard from your breath, and you have to be careful with brushing the snow off so you don’t have a giant wet spot on your shirt once it melts, but those negatives pale in comparison to the fluffy warmth it provides.
But when it gets hot, that fluffy warmth becomes an unbearable hotness of being. I’ve been dreading the day when the true NYC summer hits. In my experience it’s a switch that, essentially in a day, gets flipped, and it goes from pleasantly warm to disgusting hot. And once that day comes, I will have to decide whether to keep my beard or trim it.
I think most of my friends would tell me to quit my bitchin’ and keep it. The last time I had a beard of significant length, people were angry at me for trimming it. I think that’s in part because, as a man, if you’re unable to grow a beard (due to genetics, job, significant other, etc.), you have to live the bearded life vicariously through others. So in a way cutting off your beard is ending someone’s (vicarious) life.
But my friends also aren’t considering my unique body chemistry. Which is to say that I sweat. A lot. I can sweat in almost any situation. If I were an X-Man I’d be The Sweater. Which would be confusing ‘cause the Professor would be like “But you’re not a knitted top” and I’d have to be like “Shut your mouth Captain Picard, he who sweats is a sweater. Now get me a towel ‘cause I need to take care of this brow sweat.”
And a sweaty beard is just the absolute worst. I can’t even think of an analogy to describe how bad it is, but I guess just think about how uncomfortable it is when your hair is damp from sweat (and you haven’t been exercising), and then imagine that discomfort on your face. This problem is exacerbated with having to wait on a train on a hot summer’s day. It’s always about 300 degrees warmer at the subway platform, with 100% humidity. If someone from the MTA happens to be reading this, it’s called a fan. Or better yet, make these things called vents. They let the air circulate.
Point is, I’m not so sure I’ll be able to survive summer with a beard, seeing as I’ve barely survived it when my beard is a more insignificant length (or “trimmed” as people would say). Obviously I’d like to keep it. It’s become part of who I am (which is to say it’s how I look in my friend’s BitStrips). I’ve looked into possible solutions. A tiny fan strapped around my neck. Freeze-pops woven in (bonus is quick access to freeze pops). Cornrowing it. But until that first true summer day hits, I won’t know for certain what my beard fate will be. One thing is for certain. Much like any poignant announcement, I’ll let everyone know through my own 75-minute special aired on ESPN, called The Beardcision. I’m sure I’ll hear back from ESPN with the green light any moment now. Any moment…