How big will he grow? Attorney William’s beard story is one of perseverance and dedication. He resisted onslaught after onslaught of criticism against his beard. Yet he never gave up his beard to please his critics. For years now, William has been a proud and unapologetic beard grower. You will have a hard time finding a stronger supporter of the bearded cause.
Over the years, William has kept his beard modest in size. A look back through his previous photos here on All About BEARDS, reveals that as time passed, William has slowly increased the size of his beard.
Recently, the pandemic and its restrictions provided William with the opportunity to let his beard grow out bigger than ever before. We asked William to tell us all about his newest beard adventure. Read on to learn all about William’s biggest beard yet. Click or tap on any of the photos in William’s interview to view a larger version.
In 2020, with the onset of the pandemic and the many accompanying restrictions, what did that mean for your regular beard care and maintenance routine?
It didn’t change a lot in the beginning. I’d just had my regular barbershop visit when the “partial lockdown” started on March 16, 2020 in The Netherlands. I had a full beard, but much longer than from the year before. It grew longer and longer until June when the lockdown was “lifted”. In the meantime, I didn’t trim it a lot myself but chose to let it grow naturally. By June my beard had become a bit longer but not as long as it is now.
Under these new circumstances, how did you choose between maintaining your beard as usual versus growing your beard bigger?
I always wanted to grow it out, but never did. Because of work circumstances, I would keep the beard neat and well taken care of. For example, I have to deal with going to the tribunal for my work. So I wanted my beard always to be well taken care of. Meanwhile, the longing and desire to grow it out longer had been my wish for a few years already. For quite some time, I felt a little checkmate in my choice and my feelings versus my state of showing myself to the “outside”. But I always chose the neatest yet strongest beard variant. And that was not the bigger length I have today.
Was it easier for you to let your beard grow bigger than to keep it the same as usual?
It was easier in the second half of the year. In The Netherlands the longest period of the lockdown (e.g. cafés, restaurants) started mid October 2020. In December 2020 it expanded by including the barbers and normal shopping. The start of the expanded lockdown was on December, 16th, the day of my new appointment for my beard maintenance at my barbershop. My prior visit had been six weeks earlier on November 4th. I thought again to give a try to grow it out a bit because it shouldn’t take long before I could have a new appointment when the barbers would be allowed to open. However, the government remained in their opinion to leave the barbers and hairdressers closed. So the opening in January never came. Then the opening never came in February. Finally the government announced that the barbers could open. I went to the barber on March 3rd, 2021 . Four full months had passed since my last visit. During that time, I cautiously took care of the most “wild” things of my beard. But when I looked in the mirror, the thickness and length pleased me. So I didn’t change a lot of that.
Eventually, did the decision to let your beard keep growing bigger result more from your preference for a bigger beard instead of the pandemic circumstances?
At first it was the combination…the fact of a fait accompli. I couldn’t go to the barber. So I had to wait for the next time. But later on, the delayed ending of the lockdown encouraged my curiosity and desire to let it further grow out. So the combination was still there but it was changing into my own desire to let it grow. The pics with the snow are from that time. My bigger beard felt awesome in those cold periods!
Prior to the pandemic did you ever envision your beard reaching its current size?
It was a hidden desire. But I never did. I did not dare to do it because of my working situation, like I mentioned above.
Do you think you would have ever grown your beard this big without the pandemic happening?
It would have been maybe after my working period. That would be fifteen or twenty years later in life, but not now.
What was the physical and visual experience like for you to have your beard gradually become bigger and bigger? Does the experience of having a bigger beard differ much from that of having a shorter and smaller beard?
Oh yes, the feeling of having a beard and being bearded is much more intense. The wind going through your beard, the look in the mirror, I feel myself as really more male. Of course, I felt this way it with my smaller beard, to a lesser extent. And I was happy with it then. A smaller beard is also a beard style that I still like. But this new big one is really awesome. And I have to mention, I have the beard genes to grow it out, and I am very grateful to have them. So I never doubted my “situation”. In fact ,I became more and more curious to grow out my beard even more.
Have you encountered resistance from others to you new beard size? If so, how have you responded?
So far there has been only one rare reaction. There has been nothing like what I encountered eight or nine years ago after I first decided to grow my beard. In fact, I noticed that people are now used to my choice to be bearded and growing it out more doesn’t make any difference to them. That’s very remarkable!
How do you like having your beard at this new size?
A lot! I want it to keep it this way and still a bit longer… Although I don’t want to be a Father Christmas. Hahaha…
Do you plan to keep your beard at its new size, grow it even bigger, or go back to a shorter and smaller beard?
For the time being and that will be certainly this year, I plan to keep my beard in its new size. That means also in the summer period. My experience with hot summer weather is that being bearded gives me more the protection of coolness than of heat. And the length of the beard makes more people notice my choice, including men without a beard. One beardless man even indicated, “It seems as if you have a carpet under your chin. And actually I’m quite jealous of you. It really suits you.” A nice response, isn’t it?
You recently visited your barber for some specialized care for your bigger beard. What did the barber do? How often do you see the barber to work on your beard?
I visit my barber once about every six weeks. Mostly he has taken care of my beard in its shorter forms. But now he is caring for my beard in its new, bigger form. I requested that he leave my beard longer. After viewing pictures of other men with big beards, my barber takes a lot of care to work on my beard with the size I now have. Another barber who was in the shop and not working observed his colleague’s work on my beard and said, “Man, you could go to some sort of magazine. It is growing into an iconic style with the thickness and the length. It really is awesome…” My barber then acknowledged the other barber’s words and confirmed my beard is now very stylish. At that moment I realized that my decision to give it a try and to grow it out was a very good one. I felt proud for my choice!
Has your big beard experience changed your opinion on bigger and longer beards?
No, I always thought of men with longer beards men as having courage and dedication to choose to have those beards. A big beard is a beautiful possibility to show your human way of being male. I always find men with beards are great examples; they are men who have a powerful, and above all, distinguished face and appearance. The inaccessible radiance of masculinity reaches its peak with a fantastic full, thick beard, when you have the opportunity to grow one. Then you are blessed, I think! And I am. I see that I really am.
Do you think that more men should feel confident and grow their beards bigger?
Yes, but I also realize that circumstances may make it difficult for many to have the freedom to grow the beard of their choice. Partners may not like it. Relatives may not always be positive. There may be difficulty to grow it out when you have to face the different stages of less neat outgrowth. But where you have to go through it and above all is when men in your environment envy the bigger beard and do not want to allow yours because they cannot grow one themselves.
When I look again at my choice of being bearded, and staying with this choice after a short ten years now, the negative comments no longer affect me and have disappeared more and more. Most people these days react with approval and admiration. So, I am happy with my choice and my style! Overall, an excellent choice for then and for NOW!