Recently ShavedFor most of my adult life I have been clean shaven, but of course there have been times when I let my beard grow out. This year I decided to give up shaving for Lent, so from late February through early April I went au natural. The first week is always the hardest, since it is itchy and your skin is not used to having hair growing out that far, but then it gets softer and more supple as the weeks pass. Now that I am in my 30s, there are a few white hairs among the rest, which made me feel old. After Easter, I kept the hirsute look for a day or two before taking a razor to it. I had almost forgotten what my face looked like when it came off. Beards, quite literally, "grow on you".
The first time I grew a beard was in high school, mostly just to show off that I could grow a beard at all. I was in a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as Egeus, the father of Hermia, so the beard really complemented my fatherly image. In college, one of my roommates challenged me to a beard growing contest, but he gave up after a week when it became clear that there was no way for him to catch up.