The Case for Growing a Beard

Welcome to an argument I’ve been making for some time, called:

“Shaving Is for Suckers”


“Real Men Grow Beards”


“Lazy? Have You Tried a Beard?”


“Brett Keisel Is My Hero”


You can't not love that beard, even if it is attached to a Steeler


I guess what I’m saying is that I’m a big fan of beards.   When people play that old party game, “Which super power would you rather have, the ability to fly or the ability to be invisible?” I just whisper, “Beeeeard…” and walk away.

Ok, enough of that.

So let’s get some caveats out of the way right up front.  If you are of dubious ancestry and are incapable of growing a beard, you have my sympathies.  I remember what it felt like to be you.   Back when I was 17 there was a guy in my Econ class who could grow a full on Robert DeNiro beard, and all I could muster was some lip fuzz and a sub-Orton neckbeard.  If you work in public service field such as policing, fire fighting, or the military and have been banned from growing anything more than a cop-stache, thank you for your service and feel free to check back here after you retire at age 45 to read why you should grow a beard.   And if you work in some ultrconservative field like a commercial insurance brokerage firm or something on Wall Street, sack up.  After all, Ellis sported a beard.

cop stache

He's reaching for his pepper spray, right now.


Bubby, beards are for winners.








So, why should you grow a beard?  The answer is simple: shaving is the worst.  It’s time consuming, it’s messy, it’s painful, and, worst of all, it’s expensive.   Seriously, the price of disposable razor blades is simply insane.  Being bearded makes life much easier.   I get up in the morning, buzz down my neck beard using my beard trimmer with no guard (elapsed time 15 seconds), and climb into the shower.  The funny thing about having a beard is that no one ever looks at the “shaven” parts of your face to see how clean shaven they are. You have a hairy face, and that’s all they ever notice.

The practice of dragging sharp metal across one’s face for the purpose of hair removal is a fad that has gone in and out of style for thousands of years.   Performing this daily ritual in this day and age is an act of conformity, pure and simple.  Society says that being clean shaven is respectable, but I say that’s only because respectable men lack the courage to buck society and grow a beard.

There is one reason why many men go clean shaven where even I may not be able to help you: the angry spouse.   Many women hate, hate, hate beards.   Marriages have been threatened, feet have been put down.  It’s a tricky area that will likely require you to use your own personal knowledge of your spouse.  There are a few tacks you can take.  There’s “This is me, this is who I am, don’t stifle my individuality!”   Your wife will likely see through this line of BS, though.  If she does, try bartering.   Your face for her armpits.  It’s not as big a sacrifice as it may seem. I mean, how often do you ever even notice her armpits?  Plus, she probably won’t be willing to take you up on it, but you still get to look reasonable.  You’ll have to ply these waters alone, but keep this phrase handy: “It’s only scratchy while it’s growing out.  It’ll get softer.”  Conviction is the key.

So now that I’ve convinced you to grow a beard, you may be saying, “But Burner, I can’t go into work looking like a dirt bag for the time it will take me to grow a beard!”  This too has an easy answer: wait until you go on vacation.  Let your beard grow out over those nine days (your beard grows on weekends too!), then keep your neck and cheeks well trimmed until you get some decent thickness going.   In the future, go into job interviews with a beard (neatly trimmed of course).  It’s the 2000’s–if you’re confident and prepared, you’ll impress them with who you are and they’ll never even think about your beard.

Of course there are some downsides to going bearded.  You will have to trim it from time to time. This tends to be a little messy and usually precipitates a haircut as well to keep the top and bottom of your head even.    Some men claim that being bearded in the summer is too warm.  This is not something I have ever experienced, but then I haven’t been clean shaven since the turn of the century, so I may not be the best judge of that one.   If you’re heavyset like I am, you may find yourself being compared to Zach Galifianakis on a regular basis.   I went on a police ride-along for an internship recently, and the officer I was with spent the entire evening pulling up to other cops, rolling down the window, and saying, “Check it out, I’ve got Alan from The Hangover riding with me tonight!”  I should note I am not a ginger and do not look like Zach Galifianakis. Such is the plight of fats guys with beards.    But these things are merely minor inconveniences when compared to the joys of never, ever, ever having to smear foam or gel on my face and scrape all the hair off of it with a sharp piece of metal.

Oh and just to show I put my money where my mouth is, I didn’t shave or trim my beard for over a year during my second trip through college and in the end I looked like this.

Great Big Bushy Beard

So be like Jesus, be like Lincoln, be like Burner, and grow a beard!

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