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Groom Thy Beard!
So, you’ve decided to stop shaving. Mazel tov! This could be the best decision that you’ve made in a while. We say could, though, because the quality of this decision is yet to be fully determined. It remains contingent on the commitment and follow-through that you exert, now that you’ve set this whole no-shaving thing in motion. It just as easily could be one of the worst decisions that you’ve made in a while, and it all depends on how you go about it.
Clean-shaven is just the way you look. It is neither any better nor any worse. It’s the way you came into this world, and it is as neutral as an innocent babe with no developed moral or aesthetic sense about it. Sure, it’s a decision, too, but it’s the default option, and you’re not breaking down any societal mores by shaving your face. Alternatively, you are making a statement about what might be customary, eccentric or obscene when you should choose to grow out your facial hair into one of any number of different possible configurations.
Once the razor has been laid aside, you have just commenced what will become a valuation of your very self. Not just your beard, but your person, your identity, will be the subject of much scrutiny over one simple factor (which might rightly be broken down into a series or collection of miniature factors), and that, simply put, is how well or badly you acknowledge and accept the responsibility that is beard grooming.
We have made abundantly clear how to go about it: which products to use, in what order, and why we do what we do when it comes to men’s grooming, specifically that of the beard. It dawns on us now, however, that we may have been slightly lax in our explanation of the greater, more fundamental and essential reasons for acting so fastidiously and assiduously when it comes to the grooming and care of one’s beard. Just as you wash yourself to absolve any lingering odors, launder your garments to erase any stains and check your writing to ensure proper spelling and syntax, so to must you groom thy beard, because the lack thereof appropriate beard grooming practices will cause others to view you in a light that we are most certain you will not like.
Just as others will pass judgment on every detail of your existence, when you give them one such apparent detail as a beard on your face, you open yourself up to either flattering praise or derisive criticism; and the damnable bit of it is: you alone hold the power over which way the immense rapids will break down the river of your destiny. Take a few moments every day to clean, comb, trim and oil your beard, you will be considered a great and honorable man. Neglect these simple tasks, you shall look to others like a wild man, raised in an uncivilized jungle. Others will inherently project upon you the respect and love that you feel for yourself, and – though they say it is the eyes – it is actually the beard that is the porthole directly to the soul. Groom your beard the way you feel you deserve to be treated. The simple act of beard grooming will determine whether you are looked upon as a gentleman of taste and substance or a derelict and degenerate vagabond. The decision is yours, and yours alone.
- Jacob Smith