2.7 Beards

Steinbeck devotes Page 32 of Travels with Charley to the “one thing that a woman cannot do better than a man”—grow a beard.

Men grow beards when they are young to look older.  At any time a man may want to hide something in the bush:  bad skin or the family chin.

Many men grow beards to punctuate a boring face even though it may be grammatically correct.

Steinbeck claims he wears a beard for the same reason a peacock was given his tail:  for adornment.  He left unsaid what we all know, that peacocks flourish for peahens.  Now I am not suggesting that Steinbeck had a roving eye while he traveled, his writing does not hint that.  I doubt if I need remind anyone that the adult human male has been known to preen to attract the mate they already have.

I’ve grown a beard twice in my life.  Once in college when my brown goatee looked like it was glued on to a young actor in an effort to age the face.  It lasted about six weeks and satisfied the need for the next twenty-five years.  The next white goatee was grown during the only other motorhome escape in my life.  It made me look old.  I wore it about six weeks until I was ready to return to real life and it came off faster than a prom dress.

Fast forward another 25 years and I haven’t shaved in a week.  My face is already so old that a beard won’t make any difference.  I may let my beard grow, a day at a time, maybe even another five weeks.

16 Responses to 2.7 Beards

  1. Keith says:

    Al: I’ve had a beard for forty years now. I grew it because I hated to shave. I still hate to shave…
    I’m enjoying your blog, beats selling boats doesn’t it.
    Keith and Jenny

  2. Jacob says:

    There are 2 distinct beards in the world. Despite style, color, fullness, or overall aesthetic, there are kempt, and unkempt beards. Each have their purpose. I had made the transition from a chin cover to full beard about 4 years ago. I keep mine rather short, but long and even enough not to be confused for stubble. It’s serves the purpose of visually sharpening my jaw line so that I appear more fit and meticulous than I really am. That said, one of the things that I look forward to when I go camping is the raggity look that comes with it.

  3. Dave L says:

    Beards might just happen. One Sunday, some folks drove up in a dusty old sedan — a man and his wife and four kids. They said they were from Mountain Home AR and searching out kin. My mother thought it possible we had relatives there and invited them in. These people were quite entertaining with their Arkansas slant; we enjoyed them. My dad killed a couple chickens for a big stew, and they stuck around for several days. When I am no longer entertained by my beard and friends find it intrusive, I’ll open the door and bid it adeu.

  4. karen wittgraf says:

    Since I have never dated a man with a beard, I am not a good judge on how awful the “whisker burn” is for women who do. I do like the tiny center of chin tuft, but anything else is not attractive to me. The reasoning of covering a bad chin (or lack of one) makes sense. We women have no choice but to bare face it…and be glad that shaving is limited to legs.

  5. Women can grow beards, too, but they don’t want you to know that. Even if they have a bad chin, they will still secretly pluck or laser or electrolysize. Out of respect, I suppose, to you burly things.

  6. MaryAnne says:

    I just can’t let this one go by without putting my 2 cents in.
    Beards (all of them) are either attractive or awful. Regardless the reason for sporting them….if they are not well washed, trimmed, groomed, and reasonably thick, most of us gals would prefer a clean shaven face on a man. That said, a well cared for beard can be a handsome accent to any gent’s appearance.
    Re: the “whisker burn”, we fairer skinned ladies are more suscepitble to that side effect of our man’s beard and it can be rather”tell tale” or one can experience a tender face following certain amourous evenings. Jes, sayin’

    MaryAnne

  7. robbie says:

    I prefer clean shaven men 95% of the time. [Exception: Sean Connery with the white beard--gotta have a tan!]
    Did you know that many women get dermo-planed at the Spa –to achieve the same removal of dead skin that men do naturally when they shave? That is why they have less aging in their faces as they constantly renew with shaving. Also, beards make the man look older. I hate the whiskery stubble [It looks nasty and it hurts!] and always think a clean, neat look trumps the hang-over appearance. Albeit, some moustaches are good; check out Tom Selleck.

    For an example of someone who was gorgeous without facial hair and looks ridiculous with it, just turn to Brad Pitt.
    Jes…..sayin’ ……..cus u asked!

  8. M. Kaplan says:

    The positives for a beard are 1. no need to shave as often 2. One can store food for a snack 3.It hides my gobble 4. At a funeral home I’m thought to be a rabbi and given special consideration.

  9. Charlie Howell says:

    I too have had a beard for more than forty years, mainly due to laziness, Me thinks.
    I started “shaving” in 7th or 8th grade and was suspended from 8th grade for not
    shaving, tried to win beard growing contest during Rodeo Days in Phoenix.
    I was able to have a “neatly trimmed” beard during my Navy days back in the late
    60’s and last shaved July 4, 1970.

  10. Eric says:

    I have an Al photo with a beard! I don’t know if I can upload it here, so I’ve put it on my facebook page.

  11. John Bocks says:

    When my first girl friend since getting divorced after twelve years of a bad marriage said she preferred smooth cheeks I shaved off the beard I’d started years before even meeting my wife. I’d like to see your picture at time of each journal entry; it might help us understand you better.

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