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Alex Has Opinions on Beards

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I’ve had a full-face beard since 2003; it was born of a hatred of shaving and a general dislike of my face, which to me resembles a lumpy potato. My rounded cheeks and thin head make it look oddly lopsided to me, and having dark, long hair extending from it reshapes my face in a way I greatly prefer.

I did shave it off briefly in 2010 – I disliked the look so much that I never went back. While I do shape and trim occasionally, I am rather laissez-faire when it comes to such things. I don’t really mind the ‘slovenly’ look, and really just haven’t cared all that much about fashion in general.

I grew up around beards. Grey-haired men with more hair on their face than their pate, huge beards walking down the street carried by a hapless person, and my own father who sported a beard the entire time I was alive, which inspired my own choice of facial hair as well as cemented my reputation as ‘guy who looks like his dad’ for years to come.

My own hair is going grey quite extensively, someone I can get away with without feeling too self-conscious. I think it looks good, and helps give my mess of a beard some distinction.

Nowadays, I see full beards often on younger people – waxed mustaches curled and immaculately-barbered chin whiskers mixed with button down shirts and pressed pants. I don’t particularly mind the trend, if it wasn’t for the unfortunate association I’ve come to develop to it.

Youtube, being the paragon of free speech that it is, has decided that I’m required to see adds for the same kinds of smug, self-important ‘debaters’ walking up to visibly gay or trans people and engaging in eye-rolling ‘discussions’ designed to make them look like some kind of Mensa-wannabe intellencia, throwing around words like ‘woke culture’ and “culture war” and other weird nonsense that nobody with an actual job cares about.

It’s a millennial trend I can do without, to be honest. I’ve never been bothered by the ‘always on that phone’ element or the million other things the previous generations say we’re destroying by not having money, but ‘be openly and aggressively conservative and dismissal’ is not one I particularly want on my obituary.

Having beards associated with this odd hyper-conservatism annoys the crap out of me, more than the ‘crazy old hermit’ stereotype that I’m sure still lurks around. While ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is commonly known, everyone still does it with alarming regularity.

I’d rather be seen as a crazy hermit than as a creepy bigot any day of the week.