Someone told me recently that beards are a bit like Marmite.

No, you don’t smear them on your toast in the morning. Apparently you either love them or hate them.

I have to disagree. I’ve always been ambivalent about beards, failing miserably yet again to have firm views on an issue that seemingly excites others.

But since November I have sported a beard for the first time (apart from a week in late November when, thanks to a shaving disaster, I was rocking a big handlebar moustache).

I learned my trimming lesson and now I have a full beard.

I’ve grown to like the beard – no pun intended. It might be psychological, but my face does feel warmer when I’m walking to and from work in the winter, or when I’ve been out on my bike.

Rachel likes my beard, which is obviously important.

My mum and sister are less keen. My nieces seemed a bit nonplussed. My dad put his business head on and said he was anti-beard too as it sent out the wrong corporate messages, although he wasn’t forthcoming about what they might be.

One of our directors at work isn’t happy with my beard, although most other colleagues seem to like it. One did make the point that the beard made me look older and when I asked how old she replied “early 40’s”.  As I’m 42, I took this as a positive…I think.

I am still a little concerned, however, that the combination of bald head and full beard now gives my face a certain upside down quality.

Whatever, I like my beard.

And yet I know I will face a dilemma soon.

As I’m busy job hunting, the question is if I get asked for an interview do I go fully bearded up or should I shave?

Decisions, decisions.

But decisions for another time.

For the moment I’ll enjoy my warm face and upside down head for a while longer.


5 responses »

  1. I must confess to a serious case of beard envy on two counts. Firstly, I can’t seem to grow a full beard – there are patches of my face that remain nude no matter how hard I try – ans so a goatee was the best I could ever manage. Secondly, my work definitely prevents me from sporting facial hair (not that I’m saying your beard is in any way inelegant, like).

    Anyway, I wondered what you would REALLY look like with an upside down head, so…

    In conclusion I say “keep the beard”!

  2. Nick D. says:


    I concur with the previous gentleman’s final comment.

    If well-groomed, a beard can add an element of distinction, if not gravitas, to most male faces… which is certainly reassuring, business-wise. I believe beards may send out the “wrong corporate message” if they are unkempt, but this is obviously not the case here.

    But if you are unsure, aside from your own favoured course of action, then the option of being bearded throughout autumn/winter, then clean-shaven through spring/summer, on a regular basis, is always a suitable and sensible compromise.

    P.S. I think the beard suits you.

  3. Ursula says:

    Paul, I wish I had your hairy problems (not that I am in a rush to grow hair on my upper lip).

    I think you look most suave with your beard, adding that certain je ne sais quoi; and, in the name of balance, that which we haven’t got on the top we have to have at the bottom (so pleased with myself at this last observation).

    Be glad you are not hunting a job that requires your sporting ‘designer stubble’. Ms Creative wouldn’t like to be kissed by sandpaper.


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