Dan: a beard success story
Click on the image to the left to view Dan's beard gallery.
Dan sent the following message in email: "Hey, I'd like to be in the beard success story. If I qualify, here are several pictures of my beard."
Obviously, Dan qualifies. Read his beard story below and be sure to check out Dan's beard gallery. Some of Dan's beard photos were taken exclusively for all about beards.
How did you find the web site "all about beards"?
I was 16 years old when I found the site. I had a decent beard for a teenager. I did a web search for beards. I was curious about what started serious facial growth at 14. Before that, I was in the 7th grade with black hairs on my chin and an incoming dark mustache fuzz.
How did the "all about beards" site influence your decision to grow a beard?
I was already growing one before I knew about the site and always maintained it afterwards.
Was the site's information on growing a beard helpful to you?
The grooming, the myths.
Was the site's information on beard grooming useful?
My beard is very curly, spirally, wirey. I just get scared when I brush it and see a lump of murdered hairs. So I brush once a week or less. There is no conditioner I've found that can tame my beard. Giving my beard a style is something I rarely have done. I would just hate to have to shave everything if I made an error. I'm too busy trying to impress people with this bush on my face to experiment. Besides, a full beard, like they say here in New York, is "The bomb!"
Once you started growing your beard, did you ever have thoughts of giving up the effort? Did the site help you to keep growing?
No. I wanted to see how far can I grow this. And I found myself attractive with it. And whatever pictures I saw on the site made me wonder if I could get to that size.
You've grown a full beard. How did you select this style?
Automatically, instinctively, home grown full to the cheeks. Scissors are strangers to these follicles.
How do you like being a full-bearded man?
It's an ego trip. I loved being the only person in high school and in college with a beard. The only problem was that the mustache growth wasn't as mature back then. In New York City, few 16-20 year-olds have full beards. So I loved standing out, just for the attention. I like looking in the mirror and being satisfied, even if it's short. I don't care if people think that I'm Jewish, Muslim, or even Amish. I've actually been asked, "Are you Amish?" What I really like is when the wind blows hard and I feel it on the beard. It's a great feeling, especially when it's winter and the beard gets frozen. Good feeling. It also keeps my face warm. Yeah, it really does! I love swimming in water with it and jumping out, feeling the water drip off of it and feeling the weight of the water inside the beard. I like being in the woods with it. It makes me feel I'm part of the scenario. I love touching it and playing with it because i can't grow long hair on my head. I love it when kids want to play with it.
Did you enjoy the beard-growing process?
This I hate. I don't like waiting around for my beard to grow, especially when it's growing to new lengths. I also hate trying to control it, trying to get it to go where i want it to be. It's a barb wire monster. I wake up and one side of my face is flatter than the other. I get dandruff and skin problems if I don't brush or shower enough.
How have other people reacted to your beard? How do you feel about their reactions?
The variations of reactions are crazy. I think I should make a list:
- "How long did it take you to grow it?" This comes mostly from people who like it, but also from some who don't like it and are curious.
- "You look like a terrorist!" What a wonderful thing to say to a New Yorker, post-9/11.
- "When are you going to shave it?" This comes from largely from people in my college, mostly from girls who don't like it. Very annoying...
- "Yo, Moses, Jesus, ZZ Top...What's up?" And my favorite: "Excuse me, but um... are you the professor of this class?"
- "You look like a BUM." This comes from my family, mostly. My dad hates my beard in any shape and form. My mom likes it cropped and bordered...something I really hate to to maintain.
- "How old are you?" I find this very amusing. I ask in reply, "How old do you think I am?" Then they say, "You look 32, 37 even...but your skin is very nice, so maybe 27?" That was a very big compliment when people thought that I was mid-thirties, especially when I was 18.
- "You look like those Greek/Roman statues!" Also: "You're a young Dionysus." This is one of the most flattering compliments, to be likened to a Greek god or philosopher! ...very masculine, intelligent perceptive images. What a compliment!
- "Your beard is unattractive" This, a gay friend said to me. He has a short beard. I really hated this comment.
- "Can I touch it?" Mostly women ask if they can touch it. They usually say things like, "Ooh, it's so soft and bouncy!"
- There was a kid in class who thought that I didn't speak Spanish. In Spanish, he told his buddy sitting next to me, "Yo, Josť. Watch out for the fleas." Again, maybe I look like a bum?
- "Can you kiss with that beard?" Also: "Doesn't your face get all messy when you eat?" Kissing is only a problem when my mustache gets in my mouth. But that's not a big deal. I just brush it to the side and continue. Eating, I always get stuff on my mustache and chin. It's unavoidable sometimes. Otherwise, I've just got to be careful. It's no big deal. Just wipe the stuff off.
- "You look like a lumberjack!" I love this one. THANK YOU!
Responses to the beard from my family are all negative. No one at all in my family appreciates, it except for my grandmother...maybe. She says that I look like an artist. Lovely compliment.
A common response to my beard from people in public is staring. I get a lot of staring. The beard seems to intimidate people. If I go up to talk to them, they back up or brace themselves, except for those who find me attractive and compliment me.