Questions Answered #12

In a desperate effort to gain some weird form of validation, I stole an idea for a blog post and begged my readers to ask me a question. And they did. The buggers. Now I have to answer them.

My mum sneaks in with a family favourite question of “To beard or not to beard”. Now, before I even start this one I’ll just make sure that everyone knows that I, Gordon McLean, blogger ordinaire, sport, a rather too ginger-esque, goatee. My Dad has, for as long as I can remember (bar a few disturbing moments during my childhood) sported a full beard. Once black, his is now ‘turning distinguished’ (going grey to you and I). So, why beard?

Why beard?
The obvious answer is because I can’t be arsed shaving. However it’s not THAT obvious because I have a… well I call it a goatee but I’ve heard it referred to as many different things, from “soul patch” through to “ginger bum fluff”. Basically the middle part of my chin.. ohh for goodness sake, there are plenty of photos of me kicking around, I don’t need to describe it.

Based on that, I can’t really claim that it’s because I can’t be bothered shaving, as I still have to shave every day or so… or three…

So why did I grow it in the first place? To be honest it was just for a change… I was between jobs, for a couple of weeks and took advantage of not HAVING to shave and, one night, I had a shower, thought I’d better have a shave and for some reason thought I’d see what I looked like with a goatee. The exact reason is lost in the murky depths of my memory but I THINK it was probably influenced by… well.. someone on TV or something (ok ok, it’s was probably, but not definitely, when Chandler appeared in Friends with a goatee).

Of course that’s not the only reason I grew it, and I think I still have my goatee for the reason my Dad has his beard. The McLean gene includes a fairly small chin, and so the beard helps balance the face by making the chin appear longer than it really is.. honest.

I guess the real question is why do I still have it?

That’s a tad trickier to explain, largely because I don’t fully understand the reasons myself. But, in no particular order, here are some factors:

  • Part of me thinks it is slightly ‘unconventional’, making me stand out from the norm, possibly a little bit ‘rock’. I know it’s not but something in my head keeps coming back to that.
  • It saves on the cost of razors.
  • It reminds me of my Dad, especially as I now share his beard stroking habit – fellow bearders will know what I mean – of flattening the hairs whilst pondering something. It’s nice to have an absentminded habit, especially the same one as my Dad.
  • I honestly do think I look better with it. Honestly.

Of course there are downsides:

  • Sometimes you don’t realise you’ve, say, dribbled milk into it whilst having your morning cereal.
  • It’s ginger ferchrissakes. Such is the downside of being a natural blonde.
  • It’s going grey.

OK, I guess it’s obvious by now that I can’t really explain WHY I “beard”. Just as I can’t explain why I still “beard” after.. what.. 8 or 9 years. Right now I can’t imagine NOT having it, so it ain’t going anywhere… unless.

You see, I took the opportunity whilst between jobs to grow it. It was during the switch back to Scotland that the moustache was lost, so maybe the new job in January will see me bare chinned again?


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Long time blogger, Father of Jack, geek of many things, random photographer and writer of nonsense.

Doing my best to find a balance.

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