Beards: what they don’t tell you about growing one

Responsibility is a fickle mistress.

When a boy gets older, he starts noticing a few changes. His voice gets lower, his emotions more intense, and he gets certain… urges. Compulsions he cannot control or understand, they take hold of him and we can only hope that he waits to satisfy them.

The point is not to talk about the importance of waiting; that is self-evident. When a young man goes for it, it rarely works out well, and never is the occasion met with the responsibility that bringing a new being into the world requires.

I play the responsibility card because a young man never knows what he is getting into before hand. There are just some things they don’t tell you about growing a Beard.

You’d think it would be the itchiness.

There are certain things they never told me before I grew a beard. I had to learn as I went, and I don’t claim to have learned all, not by a long shot.

But I have learned a few things. Let’s break this down:

1. A beard truly has a life of its own.

You can’t tame it, and it just resents you when you try.

2. It has its own gravity field.

Whether it is eggs, milk, salad dressing, small creatures – if it comes too close, it will find its way all up in the beard, settle in and, who knows, maybe even start a family.

3. It doesn’t clean up after itself.

You’re going to have to learn to worry about the needs of more than your own, and that includes hygiene. We are talking the full treatment; you have to shampoo it, condition it, and trim away stray hairs. It is a serious commitment.

4. The beard underground

I’m breaking the first two rules here, but this is serious — there is a secret beard society with its own rules and code of etiquette. The most important rule is if two beards cross paths, the smaller beard must always yield to the bigger beard. ALWAYS.

5. No ice cream.

This is by far the worst thing they never tell you. You can’t have an ice cream cone without making a shower commitment to yourself. And yes, I said shower. A quick sink rinse doesn’t work.

Beard-growing is a sacred and time-honored tradition dating back to the dawn of the human race. Countless men have decorated their lip with a mustache, warded off the cold with muttonchops, or gone full lumberjack, a testament to the resilience of man.

You don’t choose the beard life; the beard life chooses you. It chose me this summer, and it has been a beautiful experience. Please, take the responsibility seriously, because you never know when it might choose you.

Unless you’re a woman.