How Growing a Beard Can Change How Others View You
Growing up, I was always one of the smallest kids in class. My parents always promised me that I would eventually hit a growth spurt, but by the time I was 16 and still only 5 foot 4 inches tall, I gave up on hoping that I was going to make it to six feet tall and realized that I probably was never going to play in the NBA.
Should I Grow a Beard?
Because of my height I developed a reputation as a weakling and gained the lovely nickname of “Frodo”; such are the joys and pains of high school, I suppose. During my first semester at college, I decided to grow out a beard. I played with the goatee look before eventually settling on a full beard that oscillated between thick stubble and a rather thick full beard.
When I returned home for Christmas that year, I ran into some old high school buddies at a basketball game and this was their reaction: “Frodo, you’ve morphed into Gandalf. Looks like you’ve finally hit your growth spurt.” I still measured only five foot four (though my driver’s license says five foot six). But my beard had added a whole new dimension to my image. It made me appear older, more robust and even taller.
Why Grow a Beard?
Growing a beard will change your appearance and how others view you. A new haircut may do the same, but facial hair goes a long way in transforming your image and identity. One study by the BBC reports that “beard probably evolved at least partly to help men boost their standing among other men.”
In the evolutionary struggle to win over the woman, beards have always been an element that speaks of dominance and assuredness. Just as other males in the animal kingdom engage in elaborate rituals. The rituals are to prove their strength and supremacy in order to get more mating opportunities. So we human have historically used the beard as a way to project our virility towards potential mating partners.
Of course, we’re more than just animals in a heated evolutionary struggle for survival. Many men in today’s world grow beards for a whole variety of reasons. Nonetheless, beards continue to be a primary factor in how people form an opinion about a man.
Advantages of Growing a Beard
About a year after first growing out my beard, I was at a bar with a couple of buddies when three girls came up to us, began a conversation, and offered to buy us a round of drinks. With women, I had always been the “nice guy” type; the guy who girls felt they could trust but who wasn’t exactly high up on the pecking order when it came to getting dates. But at the bar that night I realized that something had changed. Women were beginning to see me as assertive and aggressive without even knowing me. The bearded look was projecting a self-confidence and poise that little by little was beginning to transform the way I saw myself as well.
Believe me, there is a world of difference between having a girl call you because she needs someone to talk to after breaking up with her boyfriend and having a girl come up to you at a bar and ask you what you do for a living. Having a beard slowly but surely began to change my self-esteem and the way I viewed myself as well.
Another aspect of having a beard, and this may be a bit cliché, is that they’re considered to be a sign of wisdom and maturity. In pretty much every movie ever made, the figure of the wise elder who helps the protagonist overcome whatever challenge he or she may be facing is always bearded. Think Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings, and you’ll see my point.
Another Benefit of Growing a Beard
I worked for a person who is about as arrogant as you can get. He was good at what he does but has definitely let his talent go to his head. At one point in time, he had to leave the office for a couple of weeks for a family emergency. He was struggling with whom to leave in charge. Though I was one of the newer employees, he gave me control over the company’s finances for the weeks while he was gone. Though he never explicitly said so, I think that my bearded look reminded him of the wisdom of Yoda and put his mind at ease. Whatever the case may be, having a beard will make people consider you as being more mature, more responsible and wise than what you may be hiding under your facial hair.
The folks over at StubblePatrol.com believe that growing a beard is much more than simply an exercise in shaving routine. Rather, having a beard is “a change in daily behavior, a change in the way you approach life, and the way that you focus your time.” For a guy like me who had accepted his fate in life as the short, puny, weakling at the bottom of the pecking order, growing a beard gave me a whole new image that wasn’t just physical and exterior but also psychological. The bearded look changed how people saw me and thus helped me reconsider how I viewed myself as well.
What Do You Think?
Let us hear your opinions. Do you prefer a clean-shaven face or grow a beard? What are your experiences when going out with a beard or a clean-shaven face?
Our Guest Writer:
Aron James is the founder of StubblePatrol.com. Stubble Patrol is a site on male grooming. He loves to write about his personal experiences.
Be Shaved welcomes guest writers to encourage people to find a better shaving experience.