OPINION: Five lessons I learned about beards from my bearded boyfriend

Maria Harr, Editor-in-Chief

Maria_MugshotWhen I arrived at Central, I was disappointed in the lack of variety of men at this school.

Everyone had beards. Almost every guy I met had a beard, and I feared that the beard trend would keep me single at Central because, honestly, I’m not a fan.

Then I met my bearded boyfriend. I was surprised to be so attracted to a bearded face.

I think he’s extremely handsome, even though facial hair doesn’t fit into my normal list of attractive traits.

Since we started dating, I’ve looked at beards in a whole new light. I’m looking at bearded men and thinking of them as more handsome than I ever thought before.

I still feel that my boyfriend is the exception, not the rule, when it comes to my attraction to facial hair, but it’s still brought about a change in how I understand beards.

So here are my tips on beards for those of you who are interested, but unsure on how facial hair works:

  1. It becomes clear after dating a bearded person that beards are much softer than a five o’clock shadow. Beard burn can still happen, but it’s nothing like the sandpaper-on-your-skin feeling of stubble. At the beginning of a relationship, you’re likely to receive some bad beard burn around your mouth, which can turn you off to kissing, but don’t fear! It goes away after a while, the more you and your S.O. learn to avoid it, the more accustomed your face gets to the extra friction.
  2. Beards are not as dirty as I first imagined them to be. Don’t get me wrong, I still notice every crumb that lingers in a man’s beard, but experienced and cleanly bearded folk will get everything cleaned up before too long. It comes down to the amount of time and experience someone has with their beard and how clean of a person they are. If they’re a dirty and unkempt person, it’s likely their beard is dirty and unkempt. Similarly, a clean person probably keeps their beard nice and clean as well.
  3. Sponges and beards share a common trait. Both suck up water and, when pressed, release it all. Sometimes, it’s on an unsuspecting recipient. I believe my boyfriend gets a kind of sick enjoyment when I recoil after a sopping wet sponge-beard kiss. After drinking water his beard goes full sponge and a simple peck on the cheek becomes a waterfall on my face. Personally, I hate it. He knows that.
  4. I thought having long hair was an issue while kissing, but beards trump that. Beards shed, like any other hair. Problem is, beards like to shed on your lips. I’m pulling beard hair off of my face and lips all the time. It’s annoying, like the beard-sponge, but at least it makes me feel less bad about my long hair. Which gets everywhere. I’m sorry.
  5. Beard maintenance is more than just trimming. Men have to shampoo their beard just like their hair. Thankfully, my S.O. keeps his beard nice and clean, so I haven’t experienced the phenomenon known as “stink beard,” but I’ve been told it’s real.

All-in-all, beards aren’t so bad. Cleanliness comes down to how well the beard is maintained. If you’re on the fence about beards, my suggestion is to go ahead; give that face fuzz a try. You might like it.