BY: RYAN BOLTON
There’s a lot of fur on my face. Like if a possum gave up on life and took up permanent residence on my cheeks.
I have a beard.
Not a small, I haven’t shaved for three weeks beard. Not a ZZ Top meets Duck Dynasty beard. Just a healthy-sized, yeah-that’s-an-unmistakable beard. And bearded life is good.
I was on assignment for a magazine nearly two years ago for a story about what beard is right for different men. Like the Grizzly Bear beard for the Tom Hardys of the world. Or the Pretty Boy beard for the Ryan Goslings. To really tell the story and write from a place of facial hair understanding, I needed to try it out myself. Write what you know and whatnot. So I let my face run feral. And it was awesome. Liberating even.
Two years later and I’m about to get married. And the lady (God bless her) is cool with the beard in our wedding photos. Thank God, as that would have been an awkward discussion with relatives: “So, what happened? Why did you call off the wedding?” a perplexed Aunt Louise would ask.
“You never come between a man and his beard, Aunt Louise. Never.”
The beard and I have bonded. I’d be lost without it.
Now, a day doesn’t go by without someone asking a beard-related question. I get it, it’s a curious thing to have a possum on your face. I’m no beard expert (albeit that would be a wicked career), but in an effort to quell some of your curiosities, here’s what beard life is like.
Q: How long did it take to grow that long?
A: No idea. Not something you keep marked on your calendar. But best guess is when I just gave up shavers for a good four months and then would trim (sculpt) once a week thereafter. The goal was to just let it do its thing and for me to enjoy life wihout shaving, which is tremendous.
Q: Does it get itchy?
A: Sure, on occasion. But really, the itchiest part is the two to three week point. After that, you’re pretty much golden as long as you condition and shampoo the beast. And beard oil is a welcomed friend.
Q: Does it get hot?
A: Kind of a dumb question. Next!
Q: Are you going to shave it off? Like, your wedding photos and all…
A: Never. And I won’t tolerate that beard blasphemy.
Q: Doesn’t food get stuck in it?
A: Ask the family of sparrows that won’t leave. They do appear to be well fed though.
Q: Can I feel it?
A: It was cause for a duel in the 18th century if you touched another man’s beard. Rule still applies. Now, where’s my dueling glove?
Q: Should I grow a beard?
A: Ask your girlfriend.