§Be the Beard

It’s a prominent and obvious thing - the big beard hanging off my chin. There are plenty of people with longer and shorter (more the latter than the former in my case), mine is just right for me.


Early on I just washed and conditioned, but lately I’ve been using some better stuff. First, I wash with either Renpure Cleansing Conditioner or Kalamazoo (by Lush), and finished up after drying off with beard oil. I tried out argan oil a couple of years ago and started making my own beard oil shortly after I ran out.


(Frequently Asked Beard Questions)

Q: How long did it take to grow that?
A: A few months, I think. I really don’t know how to answer this one, since it’s been different lengths and I trim it regularly…

Q: Do you condition it?
A: Definitely! I’ve always kept it comb-able, no scary snarly mess on my face.

Q: What does your wife think?
A: She’s pro-beard, as long as it’s kept up. She doesn’t mind a longer beard with shorter hair or vice-versa, but not both long. That works for me, I buzz my hair down already.

Q: Is it hard to eat with that thing?
A: Only sometimes. Stuff like salad dressing, ice cream, pudding, just about any sauce, and soup are tougher to work around.

Here are a few that made me laugh…

While doing field day at an email elementary school a couple years ago, a third grader asked, “is that a real beard?” to which said kid’s teacher answered, “did you think he got a fake beard just for field day?” I was asked by another (different?) kid this year.

When I was in college, I had hair well past my shoulders and a full beard. My mustache and chin area are a little lighter than the rest of it, and someone asked, “do you dye it?” Yes, I’ve blown off haircuts and shaving but make time to dye just my mustache and chin. heh.

§The Life of Beard

(in case anyone is interested, very roughly chronological)

I kept it shorter (about 3/4" / 19mm long) for a while, trimming it with the guard on my clippers. Then I let it grow out, just over an inch (26mm) and a little shorter on the sides. In late 2012 I stopped using the clipper guard and really let it grow out, pretty much until my wife said that I was looking a little too homeless.

The longest it’s been is about two hand-widths below my chin (maybe 8" / 20.3cm). I was at a Trader Joe’s and saw a guy with a much longer beard who said, “nice, I remember when mine was that short…”

In October 2013 we went on vacation to Orlando, and the beard got me a discount. We were at the hotel / resort pool, and the guy at the “convenience stand” offered a 20% discount on a pool float because he liked my beard (Malik FTW - he had a good beard started). We also went to Disney for “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween” where the park was shut down for most people and whoever was there was dressed up in costume (for the most part). I went as a very original pirate, and as we were walking out of one of the buildings one of the people working at the park saw me and said, “wow, where’d you get that beard?” to which I answered, “I grew it.” and gave it a pull. She laughed and got all embarassed and apologized, I laughed and let her pull to check.

There’s been only one time that I went to a barber shop to get a “pro” cleanup, just before Christmas a couple of years ago. I don’t think the guy was listening when I said that I wanted to keep the length and just clean up the sides. He took a lot more off than I was expecting, and my mustache area was short enough that my wife (and kids!) did a double-take when I got home. Overall it looked good (he did a great job with my hair), but it wasn’t my style. No, I haven’t been back, although there’s a place in my town that has given my two younger kids excellent haircuts, and one of the guys working there has a great-looking beard.

I’ve been very lucky with my job and have been able to travel. Back in November 2016 I was in Japan at Narita Airport getting ready to head home and checking out Akihabara (souvenirs and more) while a coworker was finding stuff for his kids. An older Japanese woman working there saw me and stroked her cheek while saying, “is that warm?” I said yes, as another woman working there walked up next to her (she asked the same thing). The first woman then asked (very sheepishly), “can I… touch it?” I said yes again and she proceeded to pet my cheek for a few seconds. I looked over to see the other woman just kind of staring so I said, “would you like to?” She laughed as she walked over and did the same thing… they both looked at each other and then me and said, “it’s so nice, so soft…!” and I replied with arigatōgozaimasu![1] which made them giggle as they returned with the same.

  1. Thank you very much