Herbietown - Beard Confidence

Beard Confidence

Confidence has always been my biggest problem. Perhaps my early experience with Christianity and eventual rejection of all religion caused me to lose faith in anything ‘certain’, including myself.

Or perhaps I just have low self-esteem because I grew up with HUGE buck teeth, color blind, scrawny, and unable to play sports with balls.

But, as any reader of this blog knows, I have positive qualities, too. I am hilarious, for example. I am an outstanding writer. I can solve a Rubik’s cube and build a financial model in Excel faster than you can say “Beat Up The Nerd!”

Many people take my lack of confidence as some sort of smugness. They see my amazing accomplishments and assume that I don’t smile more because they think I think I’m better than them. Not so. I’m just a little shy and I don’t believe in myself or my own abilities.

The beard is changing all that.

I am reclaiming my manhood. I can grow a beard because I’m a real man. And I don’t mean just biologically, I mean socially. Socially, I’ve reached the point where I can grow a beard.

Let me explain.

When other people see me sporting this beard, they see guts. It’s doesn’t fill in all at once, you see, so it takes some gumption to get out there with a half-finished beard and just rock it with confidence. Which I do. First guts, then glory.

Then jokes. I’ve alluded to them in earlier posts. They are hilarious. Everyone has their own beard joke. “You look like a terrorist, Chris, you’d never make it past airport security.” “You look like a rabbinical student, it’s too bad you’re not as smart as one.” “You look like Jerry Sandusky. Shave. Now.” Or, in response to a Facebook pic of the beard, “Oh cool, Instagram added a ‘bearded gay guy filter.'” Etc.

Sometimes I have comebacks, sometimes I don’t, but the point is: the beard stays. I love taking the ribbing. It gives me confidence, in a strange reverse-psychological way. It shows people that this shy, smug, smart guy actually has a sense of humor and can take a joke.

The other thing to realize is that ultimately people don’t really care that much. And it’s important for me to see that too. The CEO of my company told me I looked “professorial,” and then we moved on to more important matters. I asked another senior guy what he thought; his reply was priceless. “Chris, I didn’t want to kiss you before the beard, and I don’t want to kiss you now.” Gold.

Is it permanent? Probably not. I’m not quite sure the sides are going to come in thick enough. But it’s going to be my choice, not someone else’s. Its going to be me making the decision, like a real man.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.