Lately, I’ve ground a beard and many people ask me about it. Not once but twice in the last year I’ve let my facial hair take over my long time goatee and turned into a mess of beard. There is a reason behind it, but not many people are able to understand.
We see beards every day. We’ve been seen them for a long time, actually. Since cavemen facial hair has been around and since ancient Egyptian times it has been a sign of distinction: sometimes high distinction, some other hobo distinction. Bear with me for a moment and recall all those famous beards and facial hairs from time immemorial: Shakespeare did have a beard. Abraham Lincoln too. Also Karl Marx or Rasputin. Einstein’s mustache rivals with Dali’s one on the list of top famous ones. Ché Guevara and Fidel Castro did not only share some political views but their love for a well-grown beard. Hemingway, Darwin, Freud, Gandalf… Actually it might be harder to think about famous historical men who didn’t grow facial hair at all than the ones who did.
In the last two decades or so there’s been a trend in beards and facial hair alike. Nowadays growing a beard it’s not just for artists, presidents, radical religious, hobos or a mixture of all of them. Anyone can grew a beard. You are not tagged as anything on the aforementioned list because of growing a beard, going in style with a mustache, showing the world your lovely goatee or letting your sideburns fly free while the wind touches your face.
In these modern days we can see a large array of facial hair in day-to-day people and some scenes, from the old fashioned lefty revolutionary beard up to the so-called hipster ironic mustache there is a large array of subtle differences. And all of them have their share of psychological meaning. Some people use their beards to develop a trademark like NBA player James Harden and his Fear the Beard slogan. Others simply let it grow as part of a total change of the view people have from them (Sébastien Chabal, french rugbymen). We can focus on Hollywood and maybe recall George Clooney’s white beard or Hugh Laurie’s 9-to-5 beard both being women magnets for the big or small screen.
But my beard it’s not like that. My beard has a psychological meaning to myself and just to myself. It’s the same as some sportsmen along the latest years. It’s there to make you remember something. Anytime you look into a mirror you see that beard and you are forced to remember it. Of course, not everyone is shaped to have beard. You won’t see a player in the Yankees roster with a beard. But you will undoubtedly see many of them playing for the Mets, the Red Sox, many NBA teams and rugby players.
Many sportsmen grow a beard if they are focused on winning a championship (i.e. 2013’s Red Sox), a game, avoid relegation, etc. To sum it up, they grow a beard as a sign of having a target to battle for. A sign of unfinished business. And that’s why I’ve let some more facial hair on me. I’ll be finishing writing my thesis not that long from now. I decided not to shave (actually just let my goatee and sideburns evolve into a well cur beard) from the day my director told me I could focus on writing because the development was finished. I did it last summer when I had a report to write following my 6 month internship in France. Any morning I woke up after some party on the river, I saw my reflection and I saw that beard. Anytime someone shared a photo of us as a group having fun or visiting some place, I saw that beard. And that made me remember that I had some unfinished business with myself. I’m a natural procrastinator (hey! I’ve thinking about writing this stuff down for more than a month!) and it’s just one of the handful ways to make me invest my time in those important things in life that should be done but you get a bit lazy into to doing them.
That’s all. Not a fancy story, but my story.