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