OPINION: The stages of beard growth from a girlfriend’s perspective

Grace Lindsley, Copy Desk Chief

Grace_Mugshot-434x475When I first met my boyfriend, he had long messy hair and a bushy black beard to match.

If I’m being honest, he really wasn’t my type. I prefer my men a bit more put together, but after going out for almost two years, it’s pretty clear his hair was never a deal breaker. I’ve gotten used to the facial hair, and it certainly suits him.

Nowadays, he keeps his hair shorter and shaves his beard every couple of months after letting it grow out.

I’ve gotten to experience the cycle, from clean shaven to full bearded, many times over at this point. With this expertise, I can detail the four primary stages of beard growth.

Right after the shave, he has a smooth face; this is the baby face stage. Initially, it’s always a shock to see him without a beard; like I forget he has a face under there.

This silky smooth period lasts all of about 12-hours.

From there, the classically handsome five o’clock shadow emerges. For a lot of people, this is the most visually appealing stage of beard growth, but it also happens to be the worst.

If you’ve never been up close and personal with a guy a few days after he’s shaved, imagine taking a sheet of coarse sandpaper and rubbing it on your face and around your body.

The beard burn is real.

I’ve found many men take pleasure in the reaction that rubbing their harsh, grainy facial hair on their significant others garners. The significant others, however, often find it far less amusing.

The sandpaper stage lasts for at least a few weeks and when it is finally, thankfully over, the short beard stage arrives.

This is arguably the best beard length.

The beard is long enough that it’s soft, but short enough that it doesn’t get in the way. It looks relatively clean and doesn’t retain anything they may have been eating.

It’s at this stage when my boyfriend is the most attractive and his beard game is strongest. I treasure this time.

After a weeks, left to its own devices, a beard will eventually reach the long beard stage.

Depending on the level of maintenance a person puts into their beard, this is either awesome or awful.

A person who has a well-maintained long beard usually looks pretty cool if they can pull it off, but, let me tell you, kissing someone with an unkempt long beard is not pleasant.

Lips are draped with thick hair that will always either get into your mouth or nose, no matter the angle. The liquid retention in these beards is astounding and upon contact you worry you might drown. Not to mention the flecks of food that hang out for who knows how long.

On the upside, you can stick flowers and pencils in them. That’s always fun.

In the end, beards are like men: kind of great and kind of gross. They’re uncomfortable and awkward to get used to, but also pleasantly scratchy and handsome.

To sum it up, I didn’t like my boyfriend’s beard at first, but now it’s grown on me.