I trimmed my beard this afternoon and I think I have made a bit of a mistake. I have been struggling to get my beard the way I want it but I have found having an image of a beard and cutting it into that shape has proved elusive. I remember my first attempt at using scissors on my beard and it seemed to go really well. I had first watched a You Tube video several times before attempting the cut and slowly my beard became angular shaped rather than round and bushy. Occasionally men will comment on my beard but on the whole it is women that seem to hold the strongest opinions.

My closest friend (i.e. my wife) would prefer me not to have a beard. Other female friends want to know what my wife thinks about it since they wouldn’t let their husbands have beards. Some people have said I look like a hipster which made me sound young and trendy, but when I saw images of hipsters in the media my beard my be similar but the rest of the look is definitely lacking. Hipster don’t seem to have grey in their beards and are not bald on top as far as I can see.

One of the reasons I don’t cut my facial hair short is because I get psoriasis scabs on my face, and shaving irritates them. I guess covering the lesions up with hair also means that people don’t ask what is wrong with my skin. Another advantage of a beard is that if I scratch the psoriasis and it bleeds people are unlikely to notice it.

A beard also makes me look different, though of course it is supposedly trendy but I think you need to be young to be trendy so I don’t fit in that category. I think there is something about maturity when it comes to beards, it takes decades of testosterone fuelled growth to develop enough facial coverage to get a decent beard, it is just not something most teenagers can do and I like that. I also like that my beard has many colours in it, yes there is grey and white but my younger browner colours are there too which for me makes it feel like a memorial to the past.

Beards can also be fun, try drinking a cappuccino without leaving a layer of froth on the moustache. The food storage capacity of beards is something that seems to irritates onlookers but I kind of like this show of appreciation of the food eating, a bit like burping after a meal perhaps. There is always a need for napkins when you have a beard, it is a bit like going back in history to discover the reason why careful eaters still needed a piece of cloth to scrub their faces (none of this pretentious dabbing at the corner of the mouth).

Perhaps though for me, one of the best bits of have a beard is that I can run my fingers through it, I can pick at it and twirl it when I am thinking or even scratch it when I am anxious. My beard when it has recently been washed is also nice and soft, I could cup my hand around my beard and bounce my hand up and down on it; it gave me pleasure.

It become more apparent recently that I was neglecting the hair around my head and face. One neighbour in particular felt to need to tell me she like it much better when it was shorter because it look distinguished; the unspoken comment is that it now looks a mess. I tried to find a compromise by making it a bit shorter, slimmer and for a day it looked great (I thought) though nobody noticed. I tried again twice more, each time thinking it was getting tidier only to find that the next day it really wasn’t. The problem was that in making a compromise I was loosing the shape I liked, what looked angular when cut seemed to be emancipated and slope inward a few hours later.

I have been thinking of using my beard trimmer on it for a few days now and this afternoon I did the deed. My beard is shorter than I expected now. No running my fingers through it; no comfort at all really. The shape of my face has changed too, my face is more oval once again and I look younger. I don’t like it. It’s a bit sad really, though at least it will grow back; I am just going to have to wait a few months that’s all. I wonder who will notice?