When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up. I was excited to get a job, buy my own things, and most of all, grow facial hair. To my disappointment, however, it turns out that only two of those things would come true.
I’ve wanted to grow a beard since I was little. When I was in the fifth grade, I was made to play a Roman soldier and, naturally, a beard had to be drawn on. I remember that one particular time because it felt like I was a grownup, even if the fake beard was scribbled on with nothing more than cheap eyeliner. There was something about that stage scruff that made me feel just a little bit more complete, even if I was just 11 years old.
I cannot grow a beard to save my life. Heck, I can’t even grow a proper mustache. It’s commonly believed that you’re fully developed by the time you turn 21 — all body parts and hair included — but here I am at 23 with nothing more than a patchy mustache and a spotty patch on my chin. I try to shave it as much as possible so it becomes thicker, but let’s be real: it’s never going to be a glorious full beard.
What’s in a beard, anyway? Aside from being a symbol of being a fully-grown man, having a beard makes a man appear more masculine, dominant and mature. To me, not having a beard, or at least the ability to grow one, makes me feel like somewhat less of a man. It’s a bit irrational to be honest, and blame can probably be put on my genes and the fact that I grew up in a tropical country, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m truly missing out on something. It’s really more of an aesthetic quality than a practical necessity. But the way I see it is that I’ve been deprived of having the option of growing out some scruff. I mean, I don’t mind being clean-shaven because the look I’ve been keeping is well, clean, but I also just wanna look sexy and not like a teen-before-his-first-shave when I decide to be lazy, y’know?
As I get closer to the age I was excited to be when I was a kid, however, I started to learn to let go of the things I can’t control, this beard situation included. I guess the adults were lying when they told me I could be anything I wanted, because apparently, being a bearded man is off the menu for me. But that’s beside the point. As I get older, I’m becoming more comfortable with myself, with what I have and don’t have. I realize that what I make out of it is more than enough to make up for my inability to grow facial scruff, and that being sure of one’s self makes you a man way more than any kind of hair will.