To Beard or Not to Beard?

Written by CAVE Contributor: Luke Ptak

Summer isn’t over yet, but the wind is smelling more and more like fall. By the time the temperature finally drops, it will already be too late. In these tough times, men all over the world are faced with a question that is as old as civilization itself: To beard or not to beard? The answer isn’t as straightforward as one would think.

On the one hand, beards are back. It may have taken a few decades, but sporting a set of full-on pioneer whiskers hasn’t been so cool since the 70s. Even the folks at Disneyland are getting on the bandwagon. Since January 2012, the park (which is known for the strict dress code imposed on those who work there) has allowed employees to wear this ancient symbol of manliness- a complete about face on a policy that had lasted 60 years.

On the other hand, the latest grooming trends don’t always fit into everyone’s life. Beards, unfortunately are not an exception. If you’re having trouble deciding whether or not you should keep your face clean as a whistle or let it all grow out in a two-fisted display of rugged hardiness, here are some important factors to consider:

1.Work: Nothing makes you seem more masculine than a five-week shadow… except a job. Some careers, such as firefighting and piloting, don’t allow beards for safety reasons. Still other places of employment don’t allow them in order to keep up a particular image. If you’re not sure about your company’s dress code, ask your boss.

2. Girlfriend: Let’s face it, sometimes (for some strange reason) people don’t dig beards. Other times, they are perfectly fine with beards, but hate stubble. To get around this barrier, wait to grow a beard until you won’t see your special someone for a couple of days. This way, she doesn’t have to deal with the stubble and she gets to enjoy the full-faced potential of your new look.

3. Ability: If your facial hair doesn’t come in evenly, think about trimming your beard in different styles to show off its best features. This being said, there are some cases where no amount of styling can make it look good. If you fall into this category, it’s best not to grow a beard at all.

If you are prevented from having one all of the time, you can still participate in the beard revival by letting it grow out whenever you can while shaving only when you have to. As the poet said, “Parting is such sweet sorrow, but it is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all”. Whether or not he was talking about shaving his beard is debatable, but the logic still stands.

If you count yourself among the lucky crowd that isn’t impeded from growing one, however, you’re all set! Throw away your razor, put on a flannel shirt, and get prepared to look like you are ready to fight a grizzly bear.

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