The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Trimming the Beard

I started growing a beard back when I was about 20 years old – more or less as soon as I could get away with it actually looking like a beard rather than just a bit of pubic fluff.

I hated shaving with a passion. I’m not sure whether my skin was sensitive or my shaving technique was dodgy, but I would always come out in a mild rash over my chin and throat which would last a couple of days. This became a problem when I reached the point where I needed to shave daily as I would then end up taking the razor over the heads of the rash and it would look like a Doberman had been at my throat. Needless to say the application of aftershave would have me hitting the ceiling and screaming so loudly that the neighbours would wonder if they should be calling the police. So unless a smooth chin was really called for I just went for the designer stubble look, or "unshaven" as it was called in those days.

Usually after a week or so, my chin would begin to itch, and when it got unbearable I would shave. One day, however, I realised that I’d actually gone about 3 or 4 weeks without shaving and there was no itch. I promptly threw the razor away with an exultant feeling of freedom.

Since then I have shaved off my beard twice. Both times I instantly regretted it as I discovered not just my chin, but a second one lurking beneath and was reminded of the rounded moon face nature of my head. The last time was over 16 years ago, which means that neither Maggie nor my children have ever seen my chin.

For a while now I’ve wanted to do something different with my beard. I’ve tried growing it longer, but it becomes difficult to manage. I don’t have any desire to take up shaving again, so today I decided to trim it really short and see what that looked like. It is now cropped closer to my chin than at any time in the past 16 years. It certainly looks odd to me and the kids are a bit uncertain. Maggie says she can live with it but was relieved that I didn’t shave it off completely. Of course if I had, I’d have then had to change the name of the blog to “Ramblings of the formerly bearded one…”

I’ve posted a before and after shot below for your perusal

33 comments

St Jude said...

It's amazing how different a trim can make you look. But actually I think I prefer the close shaved look, it gives your face more definition.

Definitely don't shave it all off. His Lordship has had a beard since I met him 28yrs ago. He shaved it off on holiday and horror of horrors he looked just like his dad. I loved his dad, but I didn't want to 'make love to him'!! It was a pretty scary moment.

Charlie said...

I too have a beard, but I cannot have it on my neck--I dig myself raw from scratching. Martha, however, believes it is insects.

I agree with Jude: mug shot #2 it is.

And I note your dramatic loss of weight. It's quite startling from your photo up top.

Kim Ayres said...

St Jude - I remember a friend of mine once relating how when his father had shaved his beard off one Christmas, my friend's mother was so put off by the result that she refused to let him back into the bedroom until it had grown back.

I didn't think it was worth the risk...

Admiral - I'm sure I read somewhere that the vikings believed that it was a sign of great health and vitality if your beard was capable of supporting life.

As for the weight loss, I must admit I was suprised not to find a double chin of note under the stubble. However, I still have another 3 pounds to lose before I stop being officially obese and move into the mere "overweight" category.

Dr Maroon said...

You have FAAAAAAAAAAAAAR too much time on your hands.

Stella said...

I vote for #2 as well - looks great and congratulations on the weight loss, could do with some of that as well, just lack motivation.

Nikki said...

Kim, I agree with what everyone has said, picture number 2 is the best.

I love a full beard. My father grew a full, black beard (no realtion to the pirate) that he usually kept very tidy. Like the Admiral, he couldn't keep it on his neck, he would scratch himself raw.

Binty McShae said...

You look slimmer with less beard, it has to be said... bizarrely I don't like to be completely clean shaven because of the opposite - my face looks chubby (and a little too pre-pubescent) without any hair. Although I have to say I STILL can't grow a full beard, despite being considerably older than you were when you first started shaving! But that's fine by me as I also really hate shaving!

Rhonda said...

Following the masses here . . . my vote goes for #3.

SheBah said...

No 2 definitely - makes you slimmer and smarter! Short beards can be quite sexy - but long beards are ageing, a bit dated and grey beards a definite turn off. Just one female opinion!! I think you'd look even better clean shaven. Strong and manly.

Kim Ayres said...

Dr Maroon - well an extra 5 minutes a day by not shaving, at least... Accumulatively that's about 24 days over the past 19 years

Stella - If you've not been there already, feel free to explore my other blog Losing a Hundredweight

Nikki - I was fine until everyone started mentioning scratching...

Binty - I still can't grow much of a beard on the side of my face as there are a couple of wee bald patches that refuse to grow any hair, which are not so noticable if I keep the sides short. So I've only ever let the chunk on my chin grow to any real length.

Rhonda #3???

Shebah - well it's just a matter of time until I have a grey beard as I'm unlikely to ever go back to full time clean shaven. On the handful of occasions over the years I've threatened to shave off my beard completely there have been strong objections from Maggie. And as her opinion of me is the most important in the world I'm quite happy to stay clear of the daily ritual of running a sharp metal object across my throat :)

El Barbudo said...

Traitor

SafeTinspector said...

Before you lost the weight, the big beard looked just right. Now that you're all skinny'n'shit, this new look is more appropriate.


As for trimmin', I do so once a week.
My chin feels crowded if I don't.

fatmammycat said...

I'd go with 2, much smarter and knocks about five years off.
Hey WV is flipcad, how odd and yet so perfect.

Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

As one who has been comfortable with a little face-fuzz for many years, I can only watch with mild amusement as you morph from hairy one to unshaved one right in front of me. I was once warned that no man with a beard should even contemplate having it proceeding below the jaw line. Might I suggest some further topiary? It would not detract I promise. Try it in photoshop first.

happykat said...

whoooooaaahhh
You look younger and leaner in the after photo. But in either one your eyes steal the show.

chicks dig the rough look. your wife may need to put you on a shorter leash. :d

Arnie Pie in the Sky said...

Those are the most soulless, evil eyes I have ever seen.

Kim Ayres said...

El Barbudo - knock it off - I still have some hair on my chin

SafeTinspector - the before and after photos were taken about half an hour apart. I didn't lose the weight that fast

Fatmammycat - did no one like the fuller beard?

Dr J McC - ah, but that would require shaving, even if it was only selective parts of the neck. I refer you to my answer to SheBah above.

HappyKat - not all chicks, judging by SheBah's comment above :)

Arnie Pie In The Sky - it's ok Justin Barker from Valencia, I'd have laughed even if you'd written under your own name.

fatmammycat said...

Apparently not dear, you should be pleased that everyone thinks you look hotter/thiner/leaner/lesslikeBrian Blessed without the more fulsome hirsute covering. Not many men can make the leap.

Attila The Mom said...

You missed a spot there on your neck...

Just kidding.

I like it!

Hubby has a goatee--just can't grow it full without a couple of bald patches. His mother hates it, but I love it.

once were warriors said...

Number 2 although I would clean up the neck it will itch like the fires of hell ... having had a beard for the better part of 20 years I have shaved it off 2 or 3 times and regretted it greatly. have sported a goatee for the past few years and my wife loves it.

happykat said...

Actually, the more I look at it, the more you look like an angry Russian from a bad Arnie movie.
(but in a good way)

:}

Rhonda said...

Haha. Oh Kim, I'm sorry. I just came by to check your comments and saw my typo.

2. TWO. I like #2.

Ack!

LindyK said...

I'm with the crew that likes the after pic better -- good call, Kim. It's not that the full beard isn't good, it's just that the trim was, as everyone has already said, quite slimming and defining. Cheers!

Gyrobo said...

Is it just me, or does the "after" shot look thinner?

The beard must add weight. Weight? Freight. Freight trains come roarin' down the track. Whoo whoo!

Kim Ayres said...

Fatmammycat - Perhaps I should feel good that everyone thinks I look better like this, but it's a little like when you split up with someone you were deeply involved with and thought everyone liked, and then everyone tells you that she was a right dog and they never liked her from the beginning, and they're just soooo glad you're no longer with her etc.

Atilla - Just as well it's not his mother who loves it and you who hates it. Then I think I'd be worried :)

Once were warriors - welcome to my ramblings - you're not married to Atilla the Mom are you?

Happy Kat - I always suspected that playing villains must be more fun than playing the good guys :)

Rhonda - that makes more sense :)

Lindy - I still think my chin looks a bit too close to my mouth...

Gyrobo - if you read most of the above comments, then you'll see that it's clearly not just you.

SafeTinspector said...

I know, you silly tit. You looked WIERD skinny with a big beard in the before picture.

Kim Ayres said...

Skinny is hardly the word, SafeTi, I'm still obese - 30 pounds to 40 pounds overweight

Charlie said...

27 comments over a beard trimming. You people do indeed have too much time on your hands.

Did no one notice that you have also trimmed the fuzz on your head? I like fuzz #1 with beard #2.

Talk about time on one's hands . . .

SafeTinspector said...

By US standards, 20 pounds overweight is skinny.
(I am thirty pounds over)

Face said...

I quite like the beard, actually. Not many men have beards these days.
Theats not to say that I dont like the non-beard, but I like the beard.

Kim Ayres said...

Admiral - I'm really quite surprised myself that this topic could generate over 30 comments. The last time I broke through the 30 mark was a month ago when I tackled the subject of Blogging Addiction.

SafeTinspector - even by your defninition I'm still not skinny.

Face - welcome to my ramblings. Finally a view to balance all the hairychinophobes that seem to frequent this blog :)

Anonymous said...

Yea, you definitely look different in the 'after' photo. But it's all good. Sometimes change can be a good thing. ~ Signed head shaving

Barney Danger said...

All hail the beard..! check out my beard site www.placeboma.com/bigandbeardy

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