Beards and Beard Preening

Beards and Beard PreeningI am perhaps not the most culturally aware person on the planet. I freely admit I didn’t realize we were in the midst of a facial hair revolution until all three of our boys (really, grown men) suddenly and simultaneously grew beards.

Now, somewhat more well-informed, I’m seeing signs of this revolution everywhere and in every context.

Please don’t misunderstand. I love beards and mustaches. My husband has worn a mustache for the decades I’ve known him. My boys, as noted, are bearded and in my opinion, they are just as handsome as ever, perhaps even more so as the beards add a certain je ne sais quoi. (I threw that in because I could.)

Beard GroomingBut the marketing gremlins that help sell beard products are ascribing nearly mystical properties to beards, including health and cosmetic benefits. (I won’t discuss the alleged enhancement of certain physiological abilities out of deference to my age and in recognition of my continued ability to make my children blush. The point – as you will have guessed — is that Romeo has nothing on a guy with a beard.)

All of this hype can go a long way toward making heads swell which in turn can encourage actions that are most unbecoming. Here are some tips to help you keep your head at its normal and most attractive size.

  • If an acquaintance compliments you on the appearance your beard, don’t enthusiastically agree. Accept the compliment with a simple “thank you” or a self-deprecating remark. You know you look great. Your pal knows you look great. No need to pound that nail.
  • Similarly, even if asked, don’t launch into a detailed description of your grooming and styling techniques, particularly if the person offering the compliment is female. Take my word for it. It’s off-putting. If the complimentor is male and genuinely interested, arrange a private chat to compare notes in greater depth. Like colonoscopies, it’s really not a subject for public discussion.
  • Mirrors have many, many uses, but do not stop and admire yourself every time you encounter one. Similarly, don’t cast loving glances at yourself when you see your reflection in a window. It says more about you than your beard when you do and, like prolonged discussions of grooming, is off-putting, especially to females.
  • Some men like to touch their facial hair, particularly when it’s new, but I’d advise you to limit this. Using your fingers to trace your mustache over your mouth and chin can cause you to involuntarily open your mouth in an unbecoming way. Stroking your beard is reminiscent of petting a cat or dog and, while those associations may be pleasant for the onlooker, I certainly wouldn’t want to remind people of a dog.
  • Sometimes friends and acquaintances will suggest that you remind them of a celebrity who sports a beard. Do not immediately agree and, most important, do not go on to mention that other acquaintances have said the same thing. This is called preening and should be avoided.

Remember, beards often do enhance your looks. That’s a good thing and can give rise to beard envy in friends and acquaintances. But beard envy and beard preening are different. You need to know the difference.

If you are so inclined, check out our beard and mustache grooming kit on Amazon.