Powerful is a fitting word to describe Paul’s beard. His bearded look is unquestionably powerful. With a beard like this you might think that Paul could rule the world. Well, think again. Owning a powerful, world-class beard is a source of internal conflict for Paul. His on-again, off-again relationship with his beard is an ongoing adventure in self-discovery. Let’s support him on his journey. Beards.org is proud to present Paul in our featured beards section.
Here are some things that Paul shares with us about himself in his own words.
- Sports: cycling, swimming, and running, but I hate it. I can kind of play any and every sport, but nothing overly well.
- Hobbies: I love the outdoors, though I probably dont take advantage of it as often as I should. Snowshoeing makes my winters.
- Special interests: I coach a junior volleyball team and the running team at my school. I’m a vegetarian for the simple fact that I wouldn’t have the heart to kill my own food.
So I wouldn’t make someone else do it for me.
- Occupation: Intermediate teacher. I love what I do.
- General stuff : Basically a self-proclaimed recluse/loner. I never held down a consistent group of friends growing up and always kind of did my own thing for better or worse…probably why I first grew a beard, to be different than the others.
- I once dyed my hair and beard blue before my senior year of high school. Bleaching your hair is a lot different than bleaching your beard…my face felt like it was on fire.
- I always get something to the effect of “I never recognized you” or whatever when someone sees me without my beard.
- Deep down I love being known as “that guy with the beard”.
Scroll down to read Paul’s story. Then, be sure to visit Paul’s photo album
The photos on this page and in Paul’s photo album were provided by Paul and are used with permission. All photos are subject to the site’s conditions of use.
What do you think of beards?
I love beards. I’ve always enjoyed growing beards and having facial hair ever since I could sprout the smallest resemblance to anything beard-esque. I also enjoyed how they’d always made me look older when I was younger. In addition, I believe that beards are more masculine than bare faces. Men are not supposed to look like boys.
Why do you grow your beard now?
I grow beards now for several reasons, and sadly, some are shallower than others. I grow my beard to cope with the cold weather as it can get pretty cold in the winters where I live. The fact that I have such a quick growth rate makes it easier for me to have a beard than to do the daily shaving routine… But mainly I grow it for the simple fact that it makes me look the way I believe a man should look. Men are meant to be more rugged than pretty.
Did anyone in your family have a beard before you?
Strangely enough, I am the first of the beard wearers in my family. My father has had a mustache since before I was born. My grandfathers were clean shaven. My older brothers have dabbled in growing beards since I started wearing a full beard regularly. But their beards seldom remain for long and they revert back to shaven.
Do you remember from childhood ever wanting to have a beard when you grew up?
I can’t say that I recall ever wanting a beard during my childhood. My first real interest in beards came in late junior high/early high school when I became able to grow more stubble than the other guys in my school. So I wanted to beard-brag by growing as much as possible. Hahaha.
How old were you when your facial hair started to develop?
Whether it was necessary or not, I can’t remember, but I did my first shave at twelve years old. By fourteen I had sideburns…genuine sideburns, not just longer scalp hair growing down. A chin strap, as I called it, came in by the time I was fifteen. Then I had a full beard by sixteen, when I started working part time.
At what age did you grow your first beard?
My first full beard came in at sixteen. Prior to that my cheeks were not fully capable of filling in. So I just had that jaw-outline-styled beard. (I enjoy looking at old high school grad pictures and seeing me being the only person there with a full beard).
What led to your decision to grow your first beard?
I can’t recall exactly, but I think it was the fact that I wanted to look a little older than my peers and I wanted to look more outdoorsy (maybe even “tough”, as funny as that is to admit now looking back), as that is a lifestyle I enjoyed.
How did your first beard turn out and how did you feel about it?
In my opinion, my first beard was great. It was a legitimate full beard at a time when other people my age were barely shaving. I had my cheeks filled in and everything. Great coverage is something I have always had… Granted, it was not as dense as it is now, but still it was nowhere near patchy.
How did you learn how to shape and maintain your beard?
Is this a trick question? I still struggle with beard shaping. In fact, that is what I think is the hardest part of being bearded. Sure, doing one length all over with clippers is easy, but blending various lengths is a challenge with which I constantly struggle. Shaping is something I learned through trial and error. I used to have it cut too high on my jaw line when I was younger,
but as I aged I realized that without some growth underneath for support, your beard will give you a clown-looking face. Seriously! Check it out next time you see a gent with a beard that is jaw line and above only.
You have a full beard now. Is that your preferred beard style?
I do have a full beard and it is, without question, my preferred style. Though I am not going to lie, I truly love friendly mutton chops as they are fun. But sadly, given my profession, I can’t get too out of the box with my facial hair style.
How do you feel about other beard styles that you’ve worn?
I guess I enjoyed the other styles at the time. But looking back from where I am now in life, I can’t see myself growing anything other than a full beard…and maybe friendlies when school is out.
Did you ever come to a realization that your beard was truly spectacular? When? What was that like?
Funny you say that. I have never really seen my beard as spectacular. Sure, it grows quickly and my coverage borders on too much. But spectacular? I don’t know. I think great beards are sculpted a little more, which again is something that I struggle with.
Why are you only a seasonal or occasional beard grower?
I always enjoy a beard during the winter, as living on an island in the North Atlantic ocean can get pretty cold. But I also switch it up as I know beards are not really viewed as fully acceptable
in today’s pop culture. Not that I am a slave to what is the norm, but at times having a beard, or at least a beard of note (size, volume, density), is viewed as too different by the fairer sex and
general populace. So I sometimes cave in…
As a seasonal or occasional beard grower, what usually triggers your shaving off the beard?
I do not enjoy the heat. And when the temperatures climb in the summer, I find it challenging to keep the beard going. Also, as lame as this will sound, I usually shave it when I think it is becoming a hindrance to my social life. I am aware that this sounds ridiculous to some, but these questions are about honesty and this is the truth. Where I live, the acceptance of full beards by others, women, is far from the norm and sometimes I shave it off foolishly thinking I’ll do better without.
What usually triggers the return of the beard?
That is a tough question. I am a chronic over-thinker/over-analyzer and some days, after contemplating too much of this or that in my life, I just get that whole “forget this, I need my beard back” mentality because that is who I am. The beard comes and goes when I need a change, or at small points of unrest in my life… and also around the time of the fall equinox for the northern hemisphere. Ha!
What would it take to convert you to a dedicated, permanent beard grower?
By the time people finish reading this, they are gong to think I am nuts. But so it goes. Haha. For me to become a permanent beard grower, I would probably need a wife…or a life like Jeremiah Johnson had. The biggest pressures to shave come from social forces. If that were no longer an issue, then I’d be fully bearded, full time.
Why have you felt self-conscious about your beard?
Here we go. My beard can get pretty rowdy, meaning that my coverage and density is — and I am not trying to gloat or anything like that — greater than anyone else’s beard I’ve seen in person. This can be a bit over the top for some. As well, most women in my demographic are not fans of beards. Yes, this sounds shallow or weak, but at this stage in anyone’s life (mid-to-late twenties),
stuff like that becomes important. I often bail on a good beard because I feel as though it limits who I can meet. Sure, there is the occasional female who enjoys a male who actually looks like a man and not a hairless boy. But they are few and far between. I realize that people who are that superficial are probably not worth fretting about. But still, I’m a sucker. I’ve also never really fully fit into most social groups and have struggled with that for a good part of my life. Sometimes going beardless gives me the false sense that I’m more a part of the norm than an outlier. (Getting pretty deep for a chat about beards, eh?)
What effect does your beard have on your self-confidence?
Sites like yours boost my self confidence when I have a beard. But at other times, the beard can bring the confidence down a bit when I see people give it “that” look. My confidence has never been
astonishingly high. So little things can make a big difference…
If you like your beard and are aware that it’s quite amazing, why not wear it with pride?
I’ve never considered it to be amazing until your site and words swayed me to think it so. As for the wearing it with pride, it’s hard in Western society with the lack general of support. Sounds petty, maybe even childish, but I don’t want my beard to limit me in any way…but I do hate limiting my beard. Internal conflict to the max.
How does the way that other people view your beard affect you?
When females question the beard, or make snide remarks (e.g. “What’s with the beard?”), it definitely murders my beard confidence and makes me contemplate shaving it off. I don’t always cave in and go with what is generally preferred. But it does make me over-analyze my beard… It also makes me make get my hate on for the non bearders…
Why not disregard their opinions? What would happen? Why let others deny you of your bearded glory?
I do my best to disregard the opinions of others with much of what I do. But it’s not always easy. As for what would happen? Nothing too much out of the regular routine, I guess. I’d feel inferior for a little while, kind of like going through some of my usual mini-doldrums, and keep growing until a really off day when I’d shave. As for denying me of glory, I would argue that they more so delay the glory as opposed to denying it… I always grow another beard after brief stints of shaving.
Could you ever adopt the attitude that you love having an amazing beard and that it’s a non-negotiable part of you?
I definitely could. The encouragement I get from this site definitely helps me move in that direction. In fact, this round of growth is longest I have gone sans shaving. I’m moving towards the non-negotiable. It’s just taking time.
Many men desperately want to grow full beards who cannot. One could say that those who can grow spectacular beards should grow them for all to see and especially for those who cannot grow one.
What are you thoughts on this?
I fully agree that all who can, should… But then there are chumps like me who cave and shave on occasion. I do not know how those who can grow good beards opt not to. Even though I’m spineless at times and shave, I’m still bearded for about ninety percent of the year. I know that after being beardless for a few weeks, I feel an urge to bring mine back, as it is the right thing to do.
I feel like an impostor or a fraud when I’m bare-faced.
When you do not have your beard, do you consider yourself a “beard waster”? Isn’t that a serious offense in your case?
I am guilty of that offense. And if there were actually penalties for such an act, I’d, without question, receive a graver penalty. In fact, I’d encourage that I be reprimanded for it. I think it is lame that I waste my beard. But I’m just weaker than others and maybe that would make me less of a fool. My beard, according to others, is pretty intense, and wasting something great is far worse than wasting a patchy or wispy chin curtain.
As a teacher, how do your students feel about and react to your beard?
Ha! My beard is always a topic of debate with students. Some encourage growth while others jokingly insist that I commit beardicide. I always joke back with them in good fun. Their opinions never sway me to do this or that. But it is always interesting to hear their take on it. Hearing their opinions makes me wonder about how I’d have acted if I had had a teacher with a beard growing up. I’d obviously draw some comparisons to the great thinkers throughout human history and realize that all bearded folk are brilliant and listen to that teacher’s every word. Hahaha!
Any good stories about your students relating to your beard?
Many great stories. Definitely too many to list, but my favorite happened early during my career when I had a chat with a few male students who agreed with me that to be a man, you need to have a beard. The students were quoting things they read online from different beard sites and it was awesome. We were all laughing and they were into it. All of them said that they would be bearded as soon as they could be and that if they couldn’t grow a “good” beard that they would feel shame. (I never provoked this either. It was all them being funny, yet great). They were a good bunch of students and I’ll miss them. I also tell students who can grow traces of beards that they are “off the team” when they shave. Obviously I am just goofing around, but it makes my job and their day a little more lighthearted and fun.
What do you like best about your beard?
Without a doubt, my favorite thing about my beard is that it is a ginger beard. I consider myself a red head, but many argue otherwise, stating that I have brown hair. When I was younger, my hair was more reddish and was the same as my beard color. As I aged, my scalp hair darkened a bit. But I’m still red. I love how I still get to fly the ginger flag on my face. It’s different and I like that. Occasionally, the redness draws Viking comments. Even though there is none of that in my ancestry, I don’t mind them.
Do you have any complaints about your beard?
What I consider to be a complaint, others would probably love. The growth is widespread and rides high on the cheeks if I don’t keep it in check. It also runs low and wide on the neck. It can be a bit annoying shaping and carving a neck line when I think about how other people just let theirs grow and it takes good form. Other than that, no real complaints. It’s dense — which I like, grows quickly — which is also a plus, and the color is spot on.
What have you learned from your beard-growing experiences?
I’ve learned that I need to grow a spine and stick with what I want. Too many times have I regretted shaving off a good beard for some superficial, junk reason. That has to stop. As well, the neck line is key. Having a beard that is high cut is not copasetic. I’ve also learned that people are quick to pass judgement on beards for a multitude of reasons…which is nuts. This is what we are supposed to look like. If not, facial hair wouldn’t have made it this far through evolution.
Would you recommend to other guys that they grow full beards?
Yes. In fact I do that all the time. I constantly try to get one of my older brothers to commit and grow out his beard. He will go a week to ten days, then shave it off because he says it’s not coming in (even though his coverage is fine). But let’s face it, everyone who has a beard knows that if you ride it out, the beard comes in. I always encourage males to grow their beards. It is what men do. We are meant to have beards, not to look like boys.
How has beards.org influenced you?
Beards.org has had a HUGE influence on me over the years. An old acquaintance of mine told me about the site several years ago during a time of decent beardage. And I’ve checked it out regularly since then. I like beard culture. And while this sounds nuts to people who are unbearded, those of us who are bearded get what I am saying. We are different and see things differently for the most part.
I can resemble the “truly outstanding beard” on beards.org if I let the shaping and grooming go. I’ve always kind of shied away from that for shallow reasons, BUT this site has definitely moved me a little more forward with accepting the benefits of testosterone. I’ve grown out my beard bigger at times because of this site. I’ve sculpted my beard in a particular way because of this site. I’ve also kept my beard at moments when I was going to shave off a beard, because of this site. It’s a great resource, and more importantly, a great community.
How do you feel about being featured on beards.org?
I’m shocked that I made the cut to be a featured beard. I check out the featured beards regularly and, as comical as it might sound, look up to some of the growers on here for beard ideas with regards to shaping, grooming, etc. I really don’t think I merit the feature, but I’ll gladly accept. It’s an honor that makes me feel proud. That doesn’t happen too often.
What do you think of beards.org?
It’s a great resource and community. There are not many places around that will encourage you to do anything (well anything worthwhile and right). This place however, is great source of encouragement and even social support. Some of the conversations you and I have had over the past few months have had a profound effect on how I see myself, other people, and things in general.
I needed this and you/the site helped me out in a big way. I’m beyond grateful for that.
Click on the image below to go to Paul’s photo album.