triumphs of the naysayers

Countless times I have heard from guys who are all pumped up and enthusiastic about growing their beards, then later they report with a whimper that they unceremoniously abandoned the effort. What was the common element that destroyed all this beard growth, optimism, and enthusiasm? Harsh, negative comments from naysayers.

What empowers the naysayers to burst the bubbles of so many budding beard growers? What gives them the authority to rain on someone else’s parade, so to speak? Why do they feel entitled to harshly criticize another’s appearance so thoughtlessly, simply because of a new beard? Such blatant criticism would likely be deemed inappropriate or unacceptable if directed at some other physical aspect, but the naysayers seem to think it’s a right — even a duty — to put the new beard grower “in his place” with a verbal bashing.

A new beard grower usually could use as many confidence boosts as possible. He’s taking a risk, stepping out of the comfort zone. He doesn’t really know how the beard will turn out, how it will finally look. In the early stages of growth, it can frequently be difficult to predict how good the fully-grown beard will look. It’s a delicate stage of the game and confidence can be extremely shaky. One good attack from a naysayer may be all it takes to convince someone to completely give up the effort of growing a beard — usually before the beard growth had progressed sufficiently for the grower to make a fair assessment of it himself.

New beard growers, take heart and stand firm! Don’t hand the naysayers another victory. Take a stand that you will not abandon the beard as a reaction to a naysayer. Before rushing for the clippers or razor, come back to “all about beards” for some confidence building and don’t give up!

20 thoughts on “triumphs of the naysayers”

  1. My beard keeps my neck and chin looking better and more defined. However, It drives me crazy trying to trim all the stray hairs (and keep them groomed) throughout the day. Most of the hair lays flat, but I always have a number of them that don’t…

    Aside from that, I like it a lot better with a beard than without–

  2. I’m a new e-mail subscribber to this website, but I discovered it around early Summer 2004.
    I’ve had my full beard for about 10 years or more and i was glad to have found a website that glamorizes guys with whiskered faces!
    I have shaved my down, a couple of times, so as to “highlight” my jaw with the beard, But then, I’d hate haveing done that a day or two later. So, I’ve just grown back in the whiskers I’d shaved back in again. I don;t know why more guys don’t grow their beards in. Many guys I’ve seen have the perfect (shadowy) look on theor face to grow that beard in! But, TV commercials for shaving always seem to glamorize the importance of a guy shaving, especially when they show last that he’ll get the “hot looking blonde caressing his face.” Yeah right!
    A guy shoudl give more dimension to his face by growning in the beard. It looks so much better. I’ve even felt an interest to go and tell a guy, who’s grown one in, that I like how his looks. But, I usually just look from a distance, wishing I could caress it with my hands, and tell him how much i like it as well!
    Oh, CONGRATULATIONS on Ten Years of this website! I hope it keeps attracting more guys to grow their own beard in. I usually think of the guys who only grow one in during the Winter months as “Winter Wimps,” or having the beard for “Winter Wrap,” and then shave it off from Spring thru Summer. Grow the beard in, guy(s)!! It makes your face look better!

  3. Hey Ron,
    Read your post. I loved the “Winter Wimps” comment. I have always struggled to think of a term that described this sort of beard wearer, and you summed it up perfectly. I also think a beard gives a mans face more depth and dimension, but unfortunately the biggest lot of them seem to be warpped by what TV and commercials say………..

  4. Ron Alfano makes some very good points. I think all of us who prize beards share the impulse to compliment a beard on a stranger, but hold back. I never regret saying “nice beard!” or “hey, maybe we can do a Smith Brothers commerical” or “keep the beard, it looks great” to strangers. They always respond with a grin and return the compliment. This is one way to overcome the naysayers.
    I remember one of my best friends in junior high school, who had a wonderfully thick beard at age 12 or 13, who grew it in every summer, to the delight (and extreme envy, I might add) of his friends. His family got into the habit of having a “Shaving of the Beard” party at the end of each summer since no beards were allowed in school. It was festive, but sad. I’ve lost touch and wonder if he kept the beard in later life. I certainly wanted to caress it during those summers in middle and high school!
    Let’s here more congrats for Steve: huzzah and carramba! This site is a godsend, and has been an important part of the now-growing trend to beardedness.

  5. HI Ron, I sent you an e-mail yesterday, but I got a message saying either it was delayed in sending or could not send. I will leave my e-mail here, and hopefully you can get something to me. It is

  6. How many times have thoughtless people who think they are clever made a negative comment about some one’s personal appearance which has been both hurtful, and damaging to their self exteem in a long term way.

    Beard nay-sayers knock it off. We bearded guys let our beards grow because we like the improvement facial hair gives us.

    I’ve had mine 16 years and it varies between a goatee and full set, but my chin never sees the light of day now. No, I’m not hiding anything..psychologically..maybe a tendancy to a double chin now that I have reached more mature years, but beards are things of beauty in the vast majority of men who have them.

  7. I love having either a beard or goatee. I have had one for the last 5 years and love it greatly.

    For me when growing it there were comments of course, but I would rather have a beard which is something I like than go with the “social standard” because it is the “way” things are supposed to be.

    Honestly, every comment makes me want to grow a longer beard.

  8. To heck with the naysayers; grow your beard!

    WB’s grooming comments reminded me of question I meant to ask: how and what do you use to groom your beard, if anything? I note that most of the beards I’ve seen here, as well as most men’s beards, in general, appear to be fully natural; i.e., no noticable trace of any grooming products. Then there are some, especially those who, by the nature of their chosen beard style, require something like mustache wax to keep it looking right.

    I tried mustache wax, myself, for about the first three years, but, despite the fact I used Pinaud Clubman neutral color (actually white, but it becomes clear, more or less), it tended to make my beard look grayer than it really was and, most of all, it left me with flaky white residue that fall on the front of my shirt (not good when wearing black or navy). I’ve since switched to a product that is, well, “unconventional”: Dax Wave & Groom, a palmade-like hair dressing used by blacks. While it’s a little on the oily side and has a scent (though a pleasant one), it gets the job done and keeps my beard looking neat all day, and without changing its color or any flaky residue. I just comb it through my beard after a shower and I’m ready to go.

    I know some purists will scoff at my using anything at all, but I have very unruly whiskers, otherwise and no amount of combing will tame them without some sort of grooming aid.

  9. I must agree that those who knock us blokes for growing facial hair need to think about what they say before opening their mouths. For some of us steping out and declaring our own independance and uniqueness is a big deal for us. Wouldn’t we all agree? When being attacked by people for your lifestyle choice it’s bad enough, it feels worse when its comng from your own loved ones.
    As for my attempts to grow mine I got knocked down again and again for it and listened to em. Now after being away for a while from home and giving it a chance to grow out. I guess I grew my beard out of spite. That might not be the best reason to grow a beard but what ever gives you the motivation and inspiration that gets you ther must be worth it.
    My advice to anyone attempting to grow their own face fuzz, let comments and sharp remarks just roll off your back. Hold in there even if it gets hard and you should be glad with your final results and even then it’s not final.

  10. Beard-naysayers have learned not to naysay beards in my hearing, whether I spite them with continued cheerfulness at that moment or confront them about their being out of line. Some confrontations seem to have resulted in more hardness of the naysayer’s heart, so now I don’t confront a naysayer unless I think the ears are open.

  11. Steve:
    That’s too bad about some naysayers getting worse when challenged. For the most part, it’s probably far better to just ignore them.

  12. I am about to give up. I’ve been wanting a goatee and mustache. It’s been 3 weeks now and I would continue except: my hair grows up my neck and stops before wrapping around my chin. The front of my chin is perfectly smooth, and that is exactly where I wanted a nice thick patch of hair. It looks so lame.
    I really don’t want a chin curtain so I’m about to shave.
    Also my mustache looks very thin.
    I guess my whiskers are neither thick nor densely packed. On my top lip there is still a break in the left side where there are no whiskers. Boo.
    I really wanted some manly facial hair. I have long wavy hair on my head which the ladies really like, if only i could have a nice thick well defined goatee and stache I’d be so cool. Oh well.

  13. This is a great website. I have grown my beard off and on for about ten years. I currently have a short beard and have no plans to ever shave it again.
    It’s interesting hearing reactions of others about your beards. Reactions of people around me are almost universally positive when I grow my beard out. I’ve always had the opinion that if a guy can grow a beard, then it looks fine on him.

  14. Tom, sorry to hear that you’re disappointed with your growth. You might take this opportunity to evaluate ways to make the most with what you have. That’s really the best that any of us can do.

    Thanks, Dennard, for your feedback. It’s great that you get so much positive reaction to your beard. Keep growing!

  15. I have always been a rebel when people try to tell me how to live my life or how to dress or even growing my beard. People finally gave up on the negative remarks when they realized that they didn’t work on me. They then focussed on possitive comments when I cut it on my own time … “Oh, you look so much better/younger.”

    Since meeting a few “mega-beards” (including Jack Passion), I decided to let my beard grow to the floor. I have a long journey ahead of me. After my beard reached a certain degree of maturity, most people now smile and have possitive comments about the beard instead of it’s removal.

  16. Aldon, I like your attitude regarding your beard. Now before your beard reaches the floor, there is the issue of terminal length. I hope your terminal length permits a floor-length beard!

  17. As a 15 year old boy, most of my friends and I want beards, so when someone looks as though they have one coming along, we’re all happy for him. But, our school has, and will stop students from growing them.
    Are the school staff members simply naysayers or something more than that?

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