If you’ve been paying any attention to social media, it feels like almost everyone is doing it. It can be a little intimidating, so the first thing I’ll say is don’t feel bad if yours doesn’t look as nice as the ones you see on Instagram. Also, make sure you have plenty of flour nearby so your hands don’t get all sticky.
Oh wait: beard! I was getting mixed up with bread. Sorry, let’s start this again.
One of the things I’ve noticed from participating in countless Zoom meetings is that I have a really big head. The other thing I notice is that men are growing facial hair like they’re desert island castaways or your dad on vacation whose grooming he chooses to eschew. (Gesundheit.)
Unlike bread-making, though, not everyone is growing a beard, so, ladies, go ahead and sit this one out, unless you’re interested in offering some beard-growing advice to your mate besides, “PLEASE, GOD, NO!”
Indeed, a good question for the COVID beard is “why?” Is it an acknowledgement that the work-from-home scenario can never adequately replace the socio-cultural norms of the hierarchical workplace? Or is it because men with time on their hands are thinking, “I want to look cool—like Ross, but without the giant head”? I’m afraid we will never know for sure.
I think we can all agree, though, that COVID beards are the sweatpants of the face. They are a man’s way of saying, “This is the only thing keeping me going right now.” Part novelty, part cry for help, the COVID beard is a way for men to bookmark the global pandemic not as the time that thousands of people around the world died from a horrible contagious virus but, “Remember that time I grew a wicked beard?”
At the outset of the pandemic, there were certain recommendations against having a full beard because the hair might prevent a protective mask from properly sealing around the face. We know now, of course, that men with beards don’t need protection since they’re so hideous no one’s going to come near them.
But here we are and beards we are, and men everywhere are discovering that it’s not so easy growing that beard. It’s not simply sitting back and letting the facial hair grow. A beard is a commitment, a beard is work, a beard is itchy.
Here, then, are ways to make your COVID beard more satisfying and less something you convince yourself you’re enjoying, like “The Tonight Show: At Home” and spending more time with your kids.
- Don’t think growing a beard will free up time, because the tyranny of shaving is quickly replaced by the tyranny of grooming. You need to commit to preening, trimming, combing, more preening, shaping and generally wondering why the hair on your face is so (how to put this?) groinial.
- It really is going to get itchy, so remember you’re not alone. Draw inspiration from all the people in history who’ve managed to live with a beard: Jesus Christ, Charles Darwin, everyone in the US Civil War, Jane Austen, Steve Buscemi in Reservoir Dogs, that handsome Ross Murray, schnauzers, etc.
- Did you know that with a beard you’re automatically certified to serve as a barista at any North American coffee shop?
- Your partner may not love your beard but you know who does? Cats!
- Beards tend to make you look older, so counter this by walking around playing music by Lil NosX CeeCEE P on your iPod Walkman.|
- Paste decals on your windows to prevent birds from crashing into them after thinking they’ve spotted some superb nesting material.
- Remember: “letting it grow out” does not apply to nose hairs. Clean those suckers up!
- Keep your beard lubricated by investing in oil or balm, which come in a variety of scents, although it sometimes seems a shame to cover up that delicious yeasty smell.
- Really get your hands in there and work it with your fingers!
- Instead of oil, you can use butter, margarine, shortening, even applesauce in a pinch!
- It may take trial an error, but your goal is: moist on the inside, crusty on the outside.
- Dusting with flour gives a pleasant rustic look.
- For a change of pace, throw in some seeds or grains.