The life of a beard owner is rife with many obstacles, challenges and ‘first world problems’ on a daily basis. These are part of our lives that people without beards could never understand. They could never feel the pain of catching your beard in a cup of coffee or finding food in there 20 minutes too late.
Although the problems I’m going to list far exceed the casual chaffing of your beard on hot summers day – I feel that all you Beard Brothers out there can relate to this.
So, here’s my 8 First World Problems Only Beard Owners will understand:
1. Erratic Ginger Hairs
It’s safe to say the majority of the beardsmen out there don’t have red hair. There isn’t a trace of it in your family history, and you haven’t even seen a ginger person in years. So, why does your beard have a strange ginger patch in it?
It can grow from the strangest of places: single hairs, whole patches and it can even sprout erratically when you shave it off and let it grow back again. The ginger hair doesn’t care if you’re black, white, blond haired, brown eyed or anything in between. At some point in your beards life – the red hair will strike.
It’s the one unexplained phenomena that plagues beard owners everywhere.
2. The Fear Of A New Barbershop
Every beardsman has felt this pain. You’ve taken the brave move of putting your precious beard in the hands of another man. You’ve thought about it carefully, handpicked a barbershop and spent 20 minutes flicking through the waiting room magazines.
As he clears the person before you out of the chair – that’s when it hits: What if he cuts it too short? What if he’s never trimmed a beard before? What if he slips on some loose hair and clippers a whole side of my face? What if he secretly hates beards and wants to sabotage it?
You could live with a bad haircut. – but your beard? No way. You’d rather turn around and run out the shop. But it’s too late. You’re already sat in the chair and the clippers have started buzzing. Which means the next 45 minutes are spent watching, in painstaking detail, the movements of every last hair. Checking it’s the perfect length, and he’s taken care of all the random ginger hairs. This goes beyond bungee jumping and swimming with sharks: this is the scariest process in a Beard Brothers life.
3. Being Asked ‘Can I Stroke It?’
At least 40 times a day by people you’ve never met. In line at the store, walking down the street, buying your lunch or catching a movie. Someone, somewhere is going to ask you if they can stroke it. And, there are those who have the nerve to ask just as they start digging their dirty, sticky little fingers into the side of your perfectly pristine beard.
They wouldn’t do it to some guys new haircut, so why do it to my beard?
4. Unspoken Rules
It doesn’t matter where you are, what you’re doing – or even if that guy is rooting for the other team. If you come across a beard as impressive as your own, it’s an unspoken rule of the Beard Brothers that you must do the following:
· Nod, out of pure respect of the majestic facial hair on his face.
· Appreciate the beard of the other man.
· Accept his appreciation of your beard.
· Either strike up a beard related conversation or leave the situation with a simple, ‘Looking good, beard brother’.
It’s just the right thing to do. But it is also detrimental to any fast-paced commute you may be on.
5. Beard Dandruff
Most people can go an entire lifetime without ever suffering from Dandruff. 70 years without a single flake. But, even if they did get the occasional bout of it, there are 500 different shampoos for them to choose from. As a beard owner though, you’re subject to one of life’s many medical mysteries – beard dandruff. And, the ever debated question of: How do I get rid of it?
6. Travel Packing
If you want to take your beard on vacation with you, it takes some serious planning and preparation. It’s not simply a case of, ‘Oh hey, let me just grab my toothbrush and some deodorant and I’m done’. Au contraire.
Packing to take care of your beard requires far more meticulous planning than that. There’s beard oils, shampoos, creams and combs to remember, never mind the rest of the ‘essential’ items you need to travel. Sometimes, I even contemplate just packing for my beard and leaving my clothes behind.
By the end of it, you’re left with a toiletry bag with more items in it than you realized you use, with a zip that can’t quite close. And, when you get to the airport – you have to take it all out and put it in little plastic bags (and nearly miss your flight).
7. Having To Constantly Justify Your Beard
As beards suddenly become a bigger part of the status-quo, you find yourself justifying how you had a beard before it was cool. Dealing with the people who ask – ‘But, is it just a fashion beard?’ – despite the fact you have over a foot of hair on your face, is one of the many banes of beard life.
If you see me walking around with flowers in my beard, or just enough stubble to look like Ben Affleck – you can call it a fashion beard.
But whilst I have a decade worth of photographs of a beard Rick Rubin would be envious of, you can’t. However, they are right – it looks cool as hell.
8. Unwarranted ‘Beard Talk’
At the checkout. In the gym. On the bus. At the park. Or in any other place where you might want to go about your daily life. All they want to do is ask you about your beard. Then, they continue to tell you the most inane story about a beard that their ex-boyfriends, uncles, sisters, cousins, nephew had four years ago on vacation.
I love it when my beard gets attention. But please, all of you non-bearded brothers out there – let me buy my groceries in peace.