User Input

User Input: You’re Just Jealous

A properly enlightened and respectful workplace.

A properly enlightened and respectful workplace.

I have been recently informed by my workplace that they would like me to get rid of my beard. I had a full beard when they hired me, and have always had facial hair for the entire time I have worked there, but only now they have suddenly decided that the beard is unacceptable. I do keep it neat and reasonably short, as well as carefully styled so it looks like it’s intentional, rather than the byproduct of accidentally forgetting to shave for six months or so. Nevertheless, they apparently want it gone.

While I am annoyed with that, it does give me the excuse to go for an annual straight-razor shave. Nevertheless, I can’t help but suspect that the real reason people tend to be opposed to beards is not because they dislike them in any particular sense, but rather because they themselves are jealous they are unable to grow one. Even if they wouldn’t want one, personally, it is nice to at least have the option. After all, what possible other reason would someone have to care if another person looked good or bad with a beard?

Are you pro-beard, anti-beard, or completely indifferent?

  • SSurfer321

    I wear a beard during winter. Grow it in November and shave it in May or when my favorite hockey team is eliminated from the playoffs, whichever comes later.

    And unless you are a LEO or required to wear a respirator, isn't it discrimination for your employer to ask you to remove the beard.

  • I have no problem with beards. In fact, I want to grow a bear like this:

    <img width=500 src=""&gt;

    but can't. This makes me sad on a daily basis.

  • I've thought about growing a beard a few times, but I just can't get past the itchy phase that begins on about day 4.

    I wouldn't want a beard that was long enough to require shampoo and blow drying though.

    • jeepjeff

      My itchy phase is day 2, and growing it out is what tends to make it a lot better. Also, keeping the beard properly cleaned when it's long keeps it from being itchy.

      • I know once it gets long enough it doesn't itch, but I just can't get past the few days that it does itch.

    • scroggzilla

      Use a little witch hazel when you hit the itch phase. Sorts it right out.

  • CaptianNemo2001

    I am indifferent. Also I think your employer might need to give you some valid reasons for hacking the beard off.

  • jeepjeff

    Pro-beard. Not that I have much choice in the matter. 😉 Mine is about on-par with the gentleman in the back of the lead image, maybe a bit smaller. I also cannot really get rid of it. I shave to a 5 o'clock shadow, through the rest of the day my face degrades from 800 grit to 220 grit, and no amount of aggression short of complete hair removal changes that.

    In other words, it grows super fast. If I fall off the shaving bandwagon for more than three days, getting rid of the scruff requires about the same amount of time and effort as removing a full beard. Which tends to cause me to put it off a few more days, and after a week of no shaving, oops, beard. Then six months later, I look like the dudes in the picture.

    While it comes with it's problems (that guys who cannot grow realize), I'm still 100% pro-beard, because I like the body I live in, and beards are awesome.

    EDIT: Also, mildly apropos:
    <img src="; width=500>

    • KoshNaranek

      Also Pro-Beard. Also do not have much choice in the matter as I am a Practicing Sikh. I guess I should be glad my beard is protected by freedom of Religeon. Please see wikipedia entries into the the Sikh Religeon if you are interested.

      P.S. Dastar tying lessons available

    • pj134

      I too shave to a five o'clock shadow at best. But I do it every day anyway. One day I'm going to have to let it run wild for a couple months though.

  • $kaycog

    I like most men in a beard, if short and well-kept. I like all men with a five o'clock shadow.

    I think your employer is being unfair.

  • I rotate. Usually clean shaven, occasional goatee, once a year or so I let it go to a full beard.

    When I was younger I had trouble growing it in. Now it comes in nice and fast but is so grey it is depressing. If it gets too long I end up playing with it too much.

    • $kaycog

      My mind is in the gutter. I can't stop laughing.

    • I am blond and graying, the few times I have let my beard grow out much, it has had a fair amount of red hair in it. That's probably all grey now.

      • jeepjeff

        I'm brindle. I've got brown hair on top, but my beard has everything from black to blond in it. Black and brown dominate, so it looks dark brown from a distance, but up close, there's a little bit of alternation and lots of lighter highlights. Haven't started getting grey hair in the beard, yet (there's a couple up top).

  • OA5599

    Just before Halloween when I was 17, I started growing a beard. When I realized it was less itchy than shaving, I kept it. Since then, I've shaved it completely off maybe once every 5 years or so, and have kept it off for maybe as long as two weeks until the itchiness bugs me too much.

    I've never had it as full as the dudes in the picture, but several times probably came close to matching the guy on the right (but with considerably shorter hair). After it grows about an inch, it drops back out of the comfort zone. I like it clipped very short, but long enough to conceal a scar I have under my nose.

  • Lynn C.

    I've had a beard since 1976, coincidently the year my daughter was born. I do keep it short, #3 on my electric trimmer, and have not had any issues at work. Yes, an employer can ask/make a person be clean-shaven without any reason other than they want to. I did lose one job prospect when the interviewer asked me if I would mind removing the beard and I said I would rather keep it. Their company policy was that beards were "discouraged". So I took that to be a discouraging insight into a potential employer and, wondering what other personal traits they may frown on, decided to not pursue the job. Otherwise life has been good with a beard, getting far more positive comments than negative.

  • betterwrappedinbacon

    Beards are awesome and you are right to suspect that there are many who are simply jealous of your manly abilities. I've worn a short-shorn, full beard for the better part of a decade and I hate shaving it off. Mainly because my chin seems to disappear with it.

    I share the concern that others have posted that it may be discrimenatory to ask you to shave it if there are no health statues that could endanger the employer with inspectors.

  • alex

    Haven't shaved my beard since 1977.

    My wife has never seen me without a beard, and is terrified every time I threaten to shave.

  • Every time I see him I have a hard time picturing a Division 1 college quarterback.

  • skitter

    Sore subject.

    For four years, I have worn a light beard. I grew it for a skit. It grows so slowly and so poorly that it was eight weeks before anyone said anything to me (At that point, just my neck was Amishly out of control.) Trimmed up, I was less disgusting in the mirror than I am clean shaven. There is nothing I can do to look great, kind of like there is no (men's) suit in the world that would make me think, with genuine enthusiasm, 'Wow, nice suit.' But with a beard, I almost think I look nice.

    Work suddenly insists that, for certain occasions, I must be clean shaven. I do trim it to #1 every three weeks or so, so it's not like there's a lot to grow back. But not much comes off the sides. I've actually shaved a half-centimeter test patch. Maybe it's gotten used to the idea.

    When it comes time, in the spirit of being reasonable, and seeing if it makes a recovery, I will shave. I will immediately hate myself for being reasonable with people who are being unreasonable. I will hate myself for not standing up, for being a pussy. I don't even want to use that offensive word, but it's the only one for it.

    I will hate the way I look. An awkward looking guy with a light beard is an awkward looking guy clean shaven. Yet when people say to me "Oh, you look nice," I'll hear "I'd like you more if you were someone else." Maybe that's too strong, but the truth is that they want me to change. Maybe it's a great flaw of mine, but when people want to make me over, I feel like they wouldn't stop at my appearance. Or my music. Or the way I talk. Or think.

    And I've been working minor miracles 65+ hours per week, as a design office of one, and put out over 40 damned complicated parts since Thanksgiving. And all they see is the beard that makes me comfortable in my own skin? I'm deeply insulted.

    • B72

      Dude, relax! They only want to modify something integral to your self definition. Remember they are only misguided management – they have no self definition, and so can't relate. Besides, they know not what lies underneath that beard, and what trauma releasing it may cause you.

      If you choose to yield to their unreasonable demands (which you probably should) I suggest you go in a day earlier than the big meeting and do something silly. Maybe wear bandages. Maybe a dust mask. Maybe a temporary tattoo of a beard where your beard used to be. Anything to lighten the mood.

      If you are feeling like messing with them, go out and get a sunburn immediately before shaving.

      • jeepjeff

        That last line hurts just reading it.

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      If the world was even more unfair, you would be their benevolent boss. But I don't wish you the pain of having to manage employees like that. Maybe that thought will be solace for you, some at least. If I were a chick I'd be interested in you cause I'd dig your mind. Maybe someday you can be your own boss, til then feel sorry for their smallness. Also you don't need them to appreciate you, you know your value. AND DO NOT LET THEM CHANGE YOU IN THE WAYS THAT MATTER!

  • johnnymac09

    Pro beard! But the wife is not. I grew one anyways. 😉

    • CaptianNemo2001

      Just don't pass out on the couch or she might get the electric razor out…

  • cdog

    I'm pro beard in fact there is a band here in Australia called "the beards" that sing songs only about beards and its considered good form to grow a beard before seeing them. They do not like mustaches however, too hipsterish I think. Beards!

  • RSDeuce

    Didn't know there was such a thing as a civilian workplace that could "make" you shave. Ballsy of them just to ask IMHO. I would politely decline.

    I don't grow a mean beard, but I do get lazy at least once a year and let it grow until my girlfriend gives me enough shit for me to shave. I prefer having a very short beard, maybe a 2 or so. Anything longer looks sloppy and anything shorter makes people comment on how thin it comes in.

  • Modeleccentric

    Ever since I sprouted face fur, I've had a beard, save the stint in the Army. I lucked out- The Wife Likes me much better with fuzz- says I look like a forlorn accountant without. Quite pro beard, I am. I regard our Cultural intolerance of beards a regrettable, retrograde step.

  • craigsu

    Every year the male students at the school where I work are allowed (for a donation to support prostate cancer research) to grow a beard between Thanksgiving and when they return from Christmas break after New Year's Day. While faculty and staff have no restrictions on facial hair I ordinarily don't sport a beard except during this period. In just a few days I become a fair imitation of Admiral Picard.

    <img src="; border="0" style="border:none;" alt=" " />

  • Mr_Biggles

    Used to go year on year off with a beard, but a few years back I got so lazy I couldn't be bothered to shave it. I'm also one of the lucky ones as my wife really likes it.

    Mitch, I'm not sure how they can get away with telling you that you have to shave it, especially if you had it when you started and you keep it neat. Doesn't sound right.