Glenn's attempt at a full beard,
about twenty years ago.
Glenn's beard success story
all about beards is pleased to resume our beard success stories series with the addition of Glenn's beard success story! Glenn is a great example of someone who might not think that he would be able to successfully grow a full beard before actually giving it a proper attempt. Glenn pulled it off with great success, producing a splendid full beard. The fact that he did not anticipate the beard turning out nearly this well should motivate other would-be beard growers to let their beards grow and give their new beards a proper chance to grow out.
Glenn's retirement from management in Information Technology set the stage leading to growing his beard. He now works as a stocks and options trader. In addition to growing a beard, Glenn's interests include photography, crafts, music, watching movies, and surfing the net. He is also interested in gaining experience in painting as art.
Reflecting back, Glenn recalls some favorite memories:
- growing up around his grandparents
- writing music in his twenties
- partying too much in his thirties
- being a semi-professional country/western dancer in his forties
- running the Los Angeles marathon
- touring the country by motorcycle along historic Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago and back
Sounds like the full beard would have been the perfect complement to many of those earlier days. But thanks to beards.org, Glenn's got his beard now!
Glenn loves to spend time camping out in the mountains and forests, savoring the experience of waking up on cold, brisk mornings with the heavy scent of trees and the earth underfoot. Glenn says that his countless camping trips to the mountains have made him feel more alive and reinvigorated than anything else. After not shaving during these mountain camping trips, he always felt let down to have to shave off his scruffy new beard growth. Glenn reports that he would like to own a mountain cabin some day. When he does buy a mountain cabin, he can now have the mountain-man beard to go with it!
Scroll down to read Glenn's beard success story. Then, be sure to visit Glenn's photo album.
The photos on this page and in Glenn's photo album were provided by Glenn and are used with permission. All photos are subject to the site's conditions of use.
How did you find the web site all about beards?
I was curious about beards and did an Internet search.
How did the "all about beards" site influence your decisions related to growing your beard?
I was recently able to make a positive career change. I felt liberated and wanted to express that with a new look. Once Iíd found beards.org and began looking through the pictures and reading the stories, I was amazed to see such a huge variety of great looking beards, including those of men who appeared to have similar hair traits that I have. all about beards gave me the confidence and encouragement to go ahead and try one on. The clincher was where it says, "Why NOT grow a beard?"!
Was the site's information on growing a beard helpful to you?
Extremely helpful. Not only did it help me make a commitment to myself to see it through, it helped me understand the importance of not attempting to shape or sculpt the beard too soon. Itís true -- I needed to wait at least four weeks to get a good idea of whatís going on.
Was the site's information on beard grooming useful?
Absolutely. There are a lot of great tips, like not trimming it when it's wet. The section on designing a neck line was very valuable. I probably would have placed it way too high, resulting in a lot of disappointment with the whole thing.
Glenn, before finding beards.org.
Once you started growing your beard, did you ever have thoughts of giving up the effort? Did the site help you to keep growing?
During those first few weeks, it seemed my new beard was growing out with colors Iíd never seen before. It also didnít seem very even. I was concerned my new beard would end up looking odd or a bit freakish or that it would make my face look fat, and that everyone would hate it. So I was tempted a couple times to shave it off. But I kept going back to beards.org, reading through the beard stories again, as well as looking through the gallery pictures. It's nice to know others had experienced doubts but kept at it.
Did you enjoy the beard-growing process?
Very much. It was a great adventure: not just with waiting to see how it would turn out (it was like very slowly unwrapping a present over a very long time), but also a journey with my mind. It was interesting experiencing all the positive as well as negative thoughts and emotions about it and myself that I went through. But even those moments of dread and self-doubt were worth going through as life is much more interesting by overcoming obstacles rather than having it all just be as easy as pie.
For me, the trick to overcoming my insecurities was to just give in to the experience. Of course, now Iím realizing thereís really no such thing as an odd or freakish beard -- at least Iíve never seen one. There are many different styles, lengths and colors to be sure, but it's all good. No one should ever be criticized for being themselves, perfectly natural with whatever inherent traits youíre born with.
You've grown a full beard. How did you select this style?
I wanted to try something different with my facial hair. Although Iíve had a stand-alone mustache for decades and had tried growing a beard twenty years ago, my first thought was to simply add a goatee because Iíve seen many other men with a mustache and goatee that I felt looked very good on them and would be something I could probably pull off. I had this notion that the only type of full beard that would look good on me was one that was dark and thick. I knew I couldnít accomplish such a feat with my particular hair traits. And as Iíve gotten older, Iíve found my stubble getting more and more coarse. So in my mind, the image of what Iíd look like with a full beard was something of a thin, patchy, overly-coarse, and probably very unattractive beard.
So I started growing the goatee. But after a week or so I found beards.org. After seeing all the great-looking full beards and reading how the guys all seemed very happy about theirs, I thought Iíd give it a go. Iíve always admired men with full beards and have always enjoyed getting scruffy-faced myself. So growing a full beard just made more sense and was the natural choice. It also seemed a lot easier to let a full beard grow out first and trim it back later on to a goatee if I chose to, rather than to try to grow a goatee from scratch. But once the full beard came in, and I was surprisingly very happy with it, I decided to keep it that style.
How do you like being a full-bearded man?
I love it. It makes me feel more masculine and that I am more of my own man for growing one, that Iím willing to experiment and experience new things, and that I am unique among men.
Growing a full beard is definitely not the norm here in Southern California. There arenít many guys sporting one. Iím pretty much a reserved kind of guy, so itís been interesting doing something like this that almost shouts out, "Hey look at me. I'm different." Regardless, most of us want to look our best, feel unique and good about ourselves. Iíve found that having a full beard has accomplished that.
Glenn, during his long run as a mustache-only man.
You were a long-time mustache-only man. How do you feel about wearing only the mustache now compared with having the full beard?
Iíve had this mustache since I was eighteen. Back then, it was common for guys my age to have long hair. I grew my mustache in direct response to an experience I had one day when I pulled into a gas station. They were full-serve back then and as the attendant walked up to my window from the back he asked, "Fill 'er up ma'am?" I grew my mustache and cut off my hair soon after.
Iíve only shaved off my mustache once, which was for my twenty-fifth birthday. I remember feeling naked without it and that it made me look way too young and immature.
I obviously donít need the mustache anymore to make me feel wise and mature. Age and life pretty much have seen to that. But like a comfortable and familiar old coat, I'd just kept it all these years, not really thinking about it too much.
I did try growing a full beard about twenty years ago. It came out okay I guess, but I didnít feel it was thick enough and I could never quite figure out where to cut the neckline. I got frustrated with it and shaved it off before too long.
What led you to become a "dedicated, permanent beard grower"?
Seeing that my beard didn't come out like my worst nightmare. I'm still amazed at the variety of gray and dark hair that grew out of my face. It's nothing I had expected or imagined. Although there are plenty of other beards I think look much better than mine, Iím very happy with it. I think the variety of color is interesting and that the gray adds a bit of a distinguishing characteristic. I expect that in time the gray will rule the roost. I wonít ever try coloring it. It is what it is and perfectly natural. It actually grew in thicker and softer than I would have guessed. It feels really good to the touch and I find myself rubbing and playing with my new furry friend often, like having a new pet.
Does this also mean that the full beard is a permanent one or do you expect to change styles now and then?
I'm still curious to see what I'd look like with just a mustache and goatee. So I'll probably trim the beard back at some point, let the goatee keep growing, and see how that goes for a while.
How do other people react to your beard? How do you feel about their reactions?
It's been interesting seeing the reactions on the street in that I seem to be getting more looks from other bearded men (the few that I see) than anyone else. And in turn I find myself curiously checking out other menís beards when I see one.
Having a new beard seems similar to the camaraderie motorcyclists have, in that I now feel a part of a unique group of other like-minded men -- a brotherhood of bearded men so to speak. Itís great.
Overall Iíve received only positive reactions so far, which was surprising considering I'm my worst critic. But if someone should decide to tell me they don't particularly care for it or worse, I won't take it to heart. If they can't appreciate my natural uniqueness, that's their problem. I know I like it, that it makes me feel good about myself, and that other bearded men like it. Thatís enough for me.
Based on your beard-growing experience, would you recommend to others that they grow a full beard?
Absolutely. Itís a unique experience. And as for changing your looks, nothing else can compare -- not with different hair styles or buying new clothes. Although invaluable in providing guidance and encouragement, no amount of reading about it or looking at pictures can tell you exactly what it will be like to go through the experience -- you just have to do it. Every man should try growing a full beard. And if it didn't work out when youíre young, try again later in life. If a full beard doesn't work out, try a different style. Facial hair has probably the biggest impact on how a man looks. It's always right there, front and center. We are very fortunate to have this wonderful attribute that can give us such variety and individuality. And the beauty of it is that it's never permanent.
Glenn's great great grandfather.
What does having a full beard mean to you?
The journey has been just as rewarding as the destination. Growing a full beard has added a different dimension to my being. I donít feel I am the same man -- I feel I am a better man. That's not necessarily because of the way my beard looks, but because of the pride I feel in doing something that has dramatically altered my appearance and for having the guts and determination to see it through. It also makes me appreciate even more the diversity of man and how we're all different in one way or another, and how our inherent differences should always be respected and celebrated.
I don't recall anyone in my family tree ever having a beard that I know of, except for my great, great grandfather on my father's side. And thatís only because of an old family photo I recently came across after my father passed away last year. I now feel a connection to him, even if we never met.
How do you feel about sharing your beard success story on beards.org?
I am very honored. Thanks so much, Steve. I hope my experiences will also help others who may be interested in growing a beard.
What do you think of beards.org?
When it comes to anything and everything about beards, beards.org is the best site that Iíve found; not only for its vast number of examples, but also for its numerous helpful tips and instructions. It's a rare thing I think for a guy to grow a beard and be able to share the experience with a buddy who is also growing one or to know someone who has the answers. Itís probably been a solo experience of trial and error for most men. So the best part of beards.org for me are the stories of what others have experienced as well as its abundance of encouragement. I look forward to seeing new beards on beards.org.
Glenn's photo album
Click on the image below to go to Glenn's photo album.
Glenn, now a dedicated, permanent beard grower.