On beards and longer hair

Sometime this past summer. Pentax IQZoom 928/Fuji C200

I haven’t done as many self-portraits in 2022 as I did in 2020 or 2021. But from the shots of me you do see, you’ll notice that I’ve had a beard all year. While I’ve played around with various configurations of facial hair since graduating high school, for many a decade I was beardless, having grown one once in the early aughts and deciding I didn’t like it.

But late in 2020 during a bout in laziness (remember, this was still Prime Pandemic), I decided to stop shaving and see how a beard would look on me. I wasn’t super jazzed at first: The “splotchiness” from my 2002-3 attempt remained, but now with much more grey. But I decided to keep it through the winter and into spring. I started to like it. I still shaved it off, and let it grow back last fall. I considered shaving it again this spring, but it just didn’t happen.

I guess I did like it more this time. It’s easier to look “distinguished”, and it beats shaving every few days. But I do keep it trim, pulling out the clippers every week or two. I still don’t like grizzly beards.

And something else has been happening: I’ve decided to grow out my hair again.

I’ve had an off/on relationship with long hair. From my youngest days until exiting high school my hair was on the long side, thanks to my hairdresser mother.1 But it was never “long” long, mostly mulletesque. My first foray into long-long was 1992, when I grew it out most likely as a reaction to the rich and stuck-up town I found myself in. The next long-long was 2011-12 after The Big Tour. I was broke, so after a self-cut in a Saskatoon basement, I let it grow out until right before Christmas 2012. And my most recent long-long excursion was 2020-21 due to pandemic. I couldn’t get it professionally cut and wasn’t feeling the home trim, so why not grow it out? It lasted until I got sick of it.

But since I had the great shearing I’ve been longing for the length. It’s been almost four months since my last cut, and I’m going to see how long I can go (in both hair length and time). Deciding I want to do that is one thing, but the grow-out process can be frustrating, especially in the early stages where one day my hair looks fine and the next day it’s deciding to part in the center. (I hate center-parting almost as much as I hate pony tails.) Getting past about six months from the last haircut is the crucial moment–from there the growing out becomes easier. I don’t want to let it get super-long, though, as that presents its own problems. But long enough.

Stay tuned to see how this all pans out…

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1 One rule of thumb I’ve learned over the years: Hairdressers will leave your hair longer than you wanted, while barbers will leave it shorter.

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