beard wasters

Whenever I would see someone who obviously had profuse beard-growing potential, but always kept the beard shaved off, leaving an appearance of perpetual five o’clock — or much later — shadow, I would think, “hmm, another ‘beard waster'”. I would wonder, “Why fight it? Why not give in to it and grow the beard, just to see how it turns out?” Ironically, in many cases, those blessed with plentiful beard development don’t want it or have little interest in growing a beard while so many others with scant beard potential would trade for it in an instant.

While I was in graduate school, I remember frequently seeing an undergraduate around campus who was a particularly striking example of a beard waster. One day when I was visiting a professor at the professor’s office, he mentioned that he wanted me to meet his assistant. He took me down the hall to another office to meet the assistant. I was stunned to see that the assistant was none other than the famous beard waster, and he had been wasting no more! The full beard and mustache that he had sprouted were industrial strength and could be categorized surely as “world class”. Months later, the beard was gone. I did not get a chance to ask why.

22 Responses to “beard wasters”

  1. roy Says:

    I know what you mean. One man’s treasure is another man’s trash. If only all guys with the potential for a great beard grew them out. It’s a shame why they don’t, the stigmas and negative associations that come with scruff are a sad example of our socially sterile world.

  2. ck Says:

    My beard is *very* coarse and *very* patchy … in other words, it really sucks. In addition, shaving is a real chore because it’s sooooooo coarse. Therefore, I keep the “much later shadow”. I use an industrial strength Oster Classic 76 with a blade that leaves my beard .5mm long. This tends to dry my skin, though. I need something to moisturize my “beard” after trimming … any suggestions? I was thinking of something like mineral oil, but lighter.

  3. Steve Says:

    You could try a regular skin moisturizer or perhaps a little bit of baby oil.

  4. Ron Says:

    I’ve found that what helps my dry skin and itch is to use Mane ‘n Tail Conditioner – Texturizer, you can buy this at Wal-Mart for a reasonable price. It also gives my beard a healthy shine.

  5. Douglas Mitchell Says:

    Your story about the undergraduate beard waster is a classic. My roommate in college was a prime example, and several of us hectored him to grow his beard out. He finally relented, and started a healthy, profuse beard, only to shave it off after a couple of days–in a panic, because part of it had come in red (he was a brunette). I never understood that, the bicolored beard having being an even more interesting prospect than a monocolored beard. Do you find, too, that many cases of beard wasters claim that their girlfriends don’t like the beard? I often wonder if it’s just an alibi, or if the beard grower really gave the beard the necessary time to grow it in fully, and for the partner to come around to appreciating its beauty and individuality.

  6. Steve Says:

    Douglas,

    I think that your last sentence is probably nearest the truth. It seems too easy to give up on a beard and go back to “life as usual” without really allowing sufficient time to properly adjust to it and to come to appreciate it.

  7. Dave Says:

    I’m not the least bit ashamed of being a beard waster.

    I had a good, full beard until a few months ago, so I can’t be accused of not having given it a chance. And over the years, it’s had a good run – on and off, anyway. Now, however, it’s begun to turn very noticeably gray. I’m much too young to look like an old geezer, and I don’t want to stain my bathroom with hair dye. So shaving is pretty much all I have left. Oh well…maybe in another 30 years I can get away with growing it out again and looking like a distinguished gentleman of a certain age.

  8. Steve Says:

    Dave,

    It’s nothing to be ashamed of! At least you have spent some time growing your beard and have only decided to get rid of it based on your own circumstances. That’s a lot better than never giving the beard a chance at all.

  9. Steve Says:

    I’m actually in both boats here. I have a full head of hair that I’ve been shaving off for years, and I know millions would pay a fortune to get what I just dump down the drain. On the other hand, I have(*) a weak beard and have that “beard waster!” reaction when I see someone who could grow a great beard.

    (*) I had a beard for a couple years then shaved it down to a goatee at 23 because it was pathetic. 9 years later I hadn’t grown another until last week and I have to admit that my facial hair may have gone from pathetic to average! Sometimes I’m impressed and at other times I still think I’m gonna get what I got years ago. It also helps now that I’m not mangling my beard with excessive shaping. It’s been about 9 days and I get more excited about seeing updates with each passing day. Agggh, it looks like it may become decent!

  10. all about beards blog » Blog Archive » how did you do that? Says:

    […] This illustrates one more reason not to be a beard waster. If you can grow a beard, grow it. It’s a privilege, perhaps even a duty. And even though you may not realize it, you gain the admiration of some of those less fortunate, who are unable to grow a beard. […]

  11. Mansley Says:

    I’ve seen many a beard waster in my time and I think every beard deserves the right to atleast one chance to grow out. And I don’t mean a week or two of negligence. A beard needs 3-4 months minimum on a face to really have been a true beard and not just some circumstance of laziness. If one can grown a beard, then one ought to make a commitment and bless the beard with life. A beard is not a right, but a duty.

  12. Paul Shepard Says:

    I have seen my share of beard wasters also, and I really think that it is something within them that just doesn’t click. They are somehow less than a man. I agree that to grow a beard is the duty of a man, and the beard should be revered ad respected

  13. Sam Says:

    The girlfriend excuse isn’t a mere alibi – my ex used to hate them. A lot of girls hate them, alas.

    Grew one afterwards though… And the incredible powers I have gained from it were well worth it.
    :P

  14. Kory Pedersen Says:

    Maybe some men can not handle the supreme powers that come with a beard, but they should at least try. My girlfriend may say that she would like me to shave, but really she just wants to scratch it, and stroke its supreme power.

  15. Jim Says:

    I’ve played around with my facial hair since I could start growing it, and now at the age of 21, have fully embraced it. I started to grow it properly about a year ago and can’t go back. My Girlfriend of 4 years loves it and is as enthusiastic about it as I am. It just sounds like an excuse to avoid a social stigma that I don’t feel is really that prominent. I’ve had nothing but compliments since I grew mine and can’t see myself going back. If only these beard wasters could experience a proper, well groomed beard, I’m sure the majority would join us!

    : {D>

  16. JM Says:

    I think that the beard wasters often tend not to let their beards grow because they’re hairy men in general and probably don’t see the need to be even more hairy.

  17. bb Says:

    When can most people start growing beards? my 1st sign of facial hair was 13 years of age

  18. Shello Says:

    I can’t help but feel overjoyed that there are other people out there who share my passion. I wish I had the option to be a beard waster. My beard struggles; at least on one side. I have been trying to grow it. I even got into trouble on my job. I am looking for products to soften and even it out. ( I have Afro West Indian origins) My mustache and goatee are soft and straight..to the point where I can almost look Middle eastern or Indian. However the hair on the side of my face starts to curl and look sparse when it gets to a certain length. I remember in London I used to see beard texturtizers, however since moving stateside, I can’t seem to find a product. Please give a brother some recommendations. My girlfriend used to complain about the beard. But now that it’s catching on she says it looks nice. Power to us Non beard Wasters. Keep Hope alive.

  19. jake klobusicky Says:

    Beard wasters are missing out on a great thing.

  20. Desmond Odom Says:

    I think the biggest crime of facial hair today is the fact that so many guys will just automatically shave things off without giving it a chance. You have to give it a chance, because you never know, you might just like it. The golden rule for facial hair is: Have an open mind about things, you never know until you try it. I mean, have you ever wondered why, when I shave, why does it come back? There’s a reason why it keeps growing back and that’s because men were meant to have facial hair, it’s a natural trait of being male. Of course, in today’s world, things are “polished” and “neat”. Personally, whenever I’m clean-shaven, I look like a little boy. In my opinion, having facial hair is just one of the natural things in life that makes a man a man, and not a little boy who’s afraid to grow up.

  21. Bim Says:

    I’ve never once considered growing facial hair until recently. It was always a nuisance to me. Perhaps it’s because I was raised primarily by women and the only male figure in my life was my G.I. Joe action figure, who was clean-shaven. I joined the miliary in the 80s and they prefer clean faces as well. It wasn’t until this year that I said “screw it, I ain’t shaving anymore!” I never knew that it would be this liberating. I don’t know about all this hormone-driven machismo that everyone seems obsessed with, but as long as I feel good about ME and don’t care about what anyone else thinks…I’m gonna do this beard thing!

  22. Aldon Olson Says:

    I now use Aussie Moist shampoo and conditioner. My beard rarely gets scratchy, but when it does, I use Head and Shoulders for a couple three days, then back to Aussie. My beard has gotten longer since switching to Aussie since it helps to manage tangles.

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