Lately, there has been something on my mind — or should I say my face. The last few weeks I had been rocking a marginally sufficient beard. As someone who has been known to have a bit of a babyface, I decided to grow out my facial hair to see if I looked more mature.

The experiment of having a full-face of hair worked. My wife complimented my beard growth and agreed that it made me look more like an adult. My football players noticed the look and thought I left my job at the paper and decided to become a lumberjack (my beard never reached lumberjack proportions, but it was different).

I even noticed a few positives about having more facial hair. When it was cold outside, I didn’t find myself hiding my face behind my coat collar or attempting to pull my hat down enough to where my eyes would still be able to see. Having a mustache allowed me to look like I was in deep thought as I stroked my facial hair. Lastly, I didn’t have to worry about nicking my kneck as I attempted to keep a more shaven look.

But having facial hair also had its drawbacks. First, I was getting food caught in my facial hair that I couldn’t notice. I know that it seems cute to see a man with ice cream in his mustache (it isn’t), but the constant carrying of napkins to make sure that there wasn’t anything in the ’stache became annoying.

Next, I felt like I had a paintbrush on my face. I attempted to get softer, silkier facial hair but it never developed. Instead, I felt like I should dip my face into a paint bucket and do some finishing touches on my garage.

My last gripe about growing a beard was that it really seems to be the luck of the draw how it ends up looking. My father had a spectacular beard that he could seem to grow at will. Almost like if he cut it at night, it would have grown back by morning. I, on the other hand, struggled to get a beard that would fill in the entirety of the lower half of my face. I was very patchy in attempting to connect the mustache-portion of the beard to the rest of the facial hair. Nothing bugged me more, knowing that I was attempting to grow a beard but had two parts that wouldn’t connect.

So, last weekend I made a decision to trim back to my original look, the chinstrap. For those of you that don’t know, the chinstrap is basically having your sideburns and facial hair connect along the jawline while not having a mustache and keeping it well manicured.

The first thing I noticed after I went back to my original style is that I now looked five years younger. A beard really did make me look more mature, but now that I had more face exposed it brought me back to looking more youthful.

Another big difference was the cold. My face was covered by a hairy blanket and now it was exposed to the ever-present gusts that flood late October.

This is the actual reason I am contemplating doing “No-shave November.”

Reading about the origins of the event, I discovered that both this and Movember are events that are put on for cancer awareness. “No-Shave November” focuses on cancer prevention, while Movember — a mustache event — looks to raise awareness for prostate and testicular cancers, mental health and suicide prevention. As much as I support everything going on with Movember, I am going to try (keyword on try) “No-Shave November” this year. I hope that growing facial hair again won’t bug me as much and maybe, just maybe, it will come in a little better this time around.

Anyway, I hope that your Halloween and October were great as we plunge headfirst into the 11th  month.

Zach Stich is the managing editor of The Fergus Falls Daily Journal. His column appears on Fridays.

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