going natural: other beards on the street

A popular feature on this site are the beards on the street photos. These are candid shots of bearded guys contributed by a photographer friend of the site. There is another kind of beard on the street, however. In recent months, while out bicycle riding on urban bike trails and through parks, I observed an astonishing variety of beards on homeless men. The problem of homelessness is huge and tragic and solving it is way beyond the scope of this blog. Here I’ll just take a moment to look at the homeless as bearded human beings rather than people to avoid or ignore.

One thing about beards on the homeless is that the beards are usually full beards at all-out growth levels. They grow without holding back, without apologies. There’s no shaping of a cheek line or a neck line. They usually let the full amount of beard fully grow. That’s a look rarely seen among the non-homeless bearded men. Why is that? Do they fear that an all-natural beard growth pattern might make them look too much like the homeless? Some state that letting it all grow naturally would make them look like a wolf man. Others fear that it looks unkempt or that the look is simply not acceptable.

Whatever may be the source, the pressure to shape precise cheek and neck lines is evidently quite intense. I figure that the all-natural full beard is viewed as extreme or untidy or even dirty simply because it’s so rarely seen. Few are brave enough to let it grow that way. And when it is seen, it’s seen most frequently on the homeless. And in those cases, because of the desperate situations of the homeless bearded men, the all-natural full beard gets associated with being unkempt and dirty.

The all-natural full beard does not have to be unkempt and dirty. Properly groomed and maintained, it’s just as tidy and clean as any other hair on the head. The look may be viewed as overpowering or extreme by some, but this is most likely because the look is so rarely seen outside the homeless population. The homeless population gives us a unique opportunity to see beards as they naturally occur. Next time you see one, thank him for that.

19 thoughts on “going natural: other beards on the street”

  1. My friends and brothers, my apologies fot going off-topic, however:

    I have taken it upon yourself to write a blog about Tiger Woods — and “All About Beards.”

    You can find it here

    Please note, that at its very core, the blog conveys only love, admiration and respect for my bearded brothers.

    Best regards,

    Bill Wolfrum

  2. I recently saw a blog stating that men with beards were lazy.Having sported one since January 06 I wondered if they were right. I realised that shaving cost me four hours in the year. Not having to shave in the morning and evening if I was socialising I found that the 15 minute morning ritual did have a positive change on my daly routine. In steas of being lazy I am healthier. I rise at 7 a.m. as normal and after Showering (using the electric Shower not the Central Heating)and Breakfast drive straight to work. At this stage I am now leaving home eariler, and am not sitting in heavy traffic. I arrive at work earlier and have a cup of tea before settling into work. In the past few months I have saved money on Car and Home fuel, my stress levels are down, and i am more relaxed. I might be Lazy, but my health and the health of the planet are better for it. So all ye guys who have a morning shave, loose the razor and save yourself and the planet. It will only take four hours a year.

  3. For about 8 and a half months, I didn’t trim my beard at all besides my mustache because I was going through a stage of spiritual revelation. In that time, I still kept my hair very short and kempt along with my wardrobe; if making a little extra effort to look nice. Even with very kempt and groomed hair and wearing more formal or dress-casual clothing, I still felt like many were judging me based on my outgrown beard. Other times, people complimented me cause it appeared that I realized full-well that my beard was outgrown in comparison to the rest of my appearence and that it might be serving a purpose. I recently trimmed it a bit because of buckling under some public pressure, but I miss that beard and am growing it back. I shouldn’t be ashamed of it cause it is part of who I am spiritually as well as physically. I will have to keep the rest of my appearence very nice to balance it out a little, but it’ll be worth it. Peace and blessings.

  4. When I let my beard grow long – Last time in 1993-4 , It was down to my shirt top button , It was nice , but it was a lot of work and once it really grew out it got real wavy in front , almost curly – I have straight thinning hair , so it looked kind of funny . My beard is shorter now [ Remington beard trimmer level 5 . But I do miss the long and shaggy one I had in 1993- 94 . I grew it that long because I was totally into my then favorite band , ZZ Top . I wanted a beard like Billy Gs or Dustys , So that why I grew it out , My 1st wife didnt really like it , but didnt really care for me or my beard , Sadly she left me the following year for another man . This wonderful support group has given me the idea to once again ” Grow it Out ! ” – So wish me Luck , My Bearded Brothers – Will send some pictures when she “Gets out Trere” – To see me now , Check my pictures under ” Ohio – John ” – Im the guy with the two teenage sons. If I were President , I would make it a Law for every man to grow a beard !

  5. Hi Steve , Hi Brothers , Its good to be back , I trimed it down to a beard shaver number 5 and cleaned up my underneck . I had a “Handlebar ” going for awhile , but trimed it down . I got tired of eating hair – my own ! — If I wanted to eat hair , I would have stayed married [ Ha-Ha] . I will let my upper lip get thick again , but trim – The Handle bar looks good but its too much work for this lazy man . God Bless You All + Take Care . Ohio John

  6. I’ve heard all kinds of comments about my beard … “Is that a religious thing?” “How do you clean that dirty old thing?” “You’re lazy!” etc. One old man even tried to shove me out the door of the Sears store.

    First off, not all bearded people grow beards because of their religion. I am a “born-again Christian, but my beard has nothing to do with that.

    I shampoo it in the shower just like the hair on my head. … and they say … “Oh!?!”

    LAZY??? It takes more effort to keep my beard clean and combed than when I or anyone else shaves. If this is so, why don’t the people with “all the energy also shave their heads?” I think maybe they are lazy for combing their hair.


  7. I’ve gone a long while without shaving or cutting my hair in the past. My hair had grown near my ass. I looked like some barbarian from the north thousands of years ago. I was called the wolfman once, but it was a fun-spirited joke from a goofy stranger when I was vacationing in Mexico — where everyone’s laid back. I thought it was funny.

    I like beards because they represent power, manhood, and wisdom. People treat you differently if you have one. Every now and then some prude will get in your face about it, but I do believe most people treat you with more respect.

    I can’t have one now because of my job. They’re even coming down on me for having a five o’clock shadow. Not being allowed to grow it out effects me in more ways than the normal person would imagine. I would go so far as to say that shaving does depress me.

  8. Even though I am a long beard, I am more intimidated by other long beards than “no-beards.”. I think there must be something about that statement above about “power and respect.”

  9. Social pressure be damned! I will forever regret that I never got around to allowing my natural beard to develop until it was already graying so much. Now, I will never know how I was supposed to appear , programmed by nature..

    Now that I’m a widower working online retail, I have the freedom to completely ignore social (and employer) convention of transient social fads of unnatural appearance.

    I have an intense interest in primitive man and who we really are “under the hood”. Neither my hair nor beard has been touched for about 7 years. This year, I expect to try woodland nudism as well. (My skin could never take all-day full sun.)

    I find so-called “naturists” to be quite funny, running around naked, in running shoes, on mown lawns, with neatly trimmed hair, jewelry, clean-shaven faces, and even clean-shaven privates! “Naturist”, my ass!

    I want to hang with people who could be cast for a prequel to “Quest for Fire” without makeup. This also means no body modification, including circumcision or tattoos. There should be no hint of technological modification of appearance. More’s the pity if you’re already screwed.

  10. I’ve gotta agree with the statement that beards do invoke a feel of power and even respect from others. I now grow my beard full time after regrettably shaving it off to pressure from family and my girlfriend.

    I first started when i was 19 and working the coal mining industry and it got filthy too quick, for my comfort. But the difference in the way the other blokes treated me with a beard was dramatic after I shaved if, not ignored. Yet as soon as it was back I was one of the guys again cos I looked more matureand not an incompetent boy.

    Once the beard returned so did the respect. Instead of looking like a child I was the man I had always wanted to look like only 1 month on.

    Hold in all you blokes who are trying becuse nothing beats the satisfaction of growing your own face fuzz.

  11. Anybody that can grow a terminal length beard with natural cheek and neck lines should!

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