A good beard on a man is like a good cleavage on a woman – you’ve either got one or you haven’t. At the age of 37, my own has just filled out. The beard’s coming on great too.
It’s a strange parallel to draw, granted, but think about it: both are a fiercely defended source of pride for those who possess them and, supposedly, some kind of crude indicator of potent masculinity or femininity.
The difference is that, as the pages of newspaper style supplements and women’s magazines will testify, the opposite sex are a bit more upfront about the politics surrounding bosoms. But men, as with discussing emotions and going to the doctors, remain typically cagey when it comes to facial hair.
If you have a beard or ‘tache or goatee you’ll know it comes with a quiet sense of smugness about your active follicles. I say quiet because you don’t want to boastfully rub less hairy men’s baby-faces in it.
For example, I am painfully shy about talking about my recently acquired beard, even though it is gorgeous.
Thankfully the imminent arrival of Movember offers all men the chance to indulge themselves for a few weeks and I’d advise anyone out there to take full advantage of it.
Of course, the whole idea is to nurture a moustache (NOT a beard, the rules of the 30-day challenge are quite strict about this) and in the process raise money for prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. But once you get to the end of next month I’d advise you go on and go the whole hairy hog. Get your growth sponsored, if you like, or do it just for the sheer self-satisfaction.
If you can grow a beard, do it. It feels so good. I never used to feel this way, but like so many vices in life, the main reason I was so against the idea was because I hadn’t tried it.
In fact, not so many years ago I penned a whole column applauding Movember but warned readers off retaining their facial covering.
In summary I said that remaining unshaven would result in comparisons with: (I’ll list them all) colonialists, authoritarians, dastardly cads, serial killers, genocidal maniacs, villains, eccentrics, real ale drinkers, members of the Village People, rednecks, porn stars and lunatics.
Thing is, I take it all back now. Now I have one.
Since acquiring a beard I’ve regained my jawline and my cheekbones which had long since disappeared under a jowly mush.
I’ve also gained quite a few comparisons ranging from David Tennant (when he had a beard, of course) to Eric Bana (you know, when he was in Troy, that rubbish film with Brad Pitt?) though one friend did also say I just looked like your common or garden pervert.
But don’t let that put you off. Go now, men of Britain, nurture a moustache and then a beard – it’ll be the best thing you ever grew.
* To find out more about Movember visit: www.uk.movember.com