To Beard or Not To Beard

“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.”

William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

I had them all; sideburns in the 60s, a moustache in the 70s, a beard in the 80s. And why not? The paucity of hair on my head offered few options for style change, but the face was another matter. I could grow it there, and I did.


The sideburns were fun as an accessory to my bell bottom pants in the late 60s. I took a moustache into the Army in the early 70s, but shaved it off when a corporal ‘advised’ me of ‘the policy’ on facial hair, none 1 inch above the lip or 1 inch below the nose. Of course, there was no policy, there was harassment. but who was I, a raw recruit, to argue?

The beard came last in the 80s, as a means to draw attention away from the rapidly disappearing hairline. It seemed to work, but after ten years, as the gray dominated, I shaved it off. Wow, I looked like a kid, again. Have you ever noticed that about men who shave off their beards, they look more youthful?

Now, here it is, about three decades later, and beards are in vogue, again, but with a twist. Men are not growing full beards, yet they aren’t shaving regularly, either. The two, three or four-day growth look is the rage.

Stubble 2

A suit and tie, slacks and open collar dress shirt, jeans and t-shirt, flannels, the unshaven look goes well with them all. Like any new fashion, this ‘stubble’ look took some getting used to, but it’s here, and it’s cool (is ‘cool’ used anymore?).

Yes,  I’ve tried it and I like it. I don’t like beards on high schoolers, it seems a bit precocious. But I do like the unshaven look on adult men. Of course, I’m retired, so I’d probably do it regardless of fashion. But now I have an excuse to leave the razor on the shelf. And just to be more daring, I might try those skinny pants that are fashionable. Age be damned, I’m going for it, turning back the clock.  Who’s with me?

There was an old man with a beard, who said: ‘It is just as I feared! Two owls and a hen, four larks and a wren have all built their nests in my beard.

Edward Lear


August 2018
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Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative. My essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my essays, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Enjoy the run!

14 thoughts on “To Beard or Not To Beard”

  1. I remember a teacher in high-school who looked very young and wore quite a big beard. We asked him about it (we got on like a house on fire with him) and he told us he looked so young without it that he thought he needed it to command respect. He did shave it at some point and he looked younger than us! I think there are faces suited to beards and others not so much, but it is a matter of taste. And comfort. And indeed, fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. It’s true, beards are a fashion statement. I liked mine for
      Most of the time I had it. Then, just as it was growing it, it took some nerve to get rid of it.


  2. Thanks for this one Steve. Growing a beard is a fashion accessory for the parsimonious! I say lucky you! Not an option for us women. Always enjoyable reading your blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Steve, Interesting, as always. Your quote from Shakespeare makes me tongue (fingers?) tied. Never worn a beard but wonder if yours were associated with the seasons. Full beard winter, summer less so? Thanks, Jim

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing to do with seasons, Jim. The ‘stubble’ now because I’m ‘parsimonious’ (like that word), the sideburns were the style and the beard, well, I couldn’t do anything with my hair except save it in a box…😉


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