The beard had to go. Mine, not yours. Unless yours is not a beard but early morning inertia or a bit Jethro Tull (Google it...).
A Friday without shaving had continued over Saturday and Sunday and into a week with no client delivery. With the September holiday weekend up next I found myself properly hirsuite by the Sunday. The Snip had pronounced it "not too bad", her only repeatable comment about facial hair on anyone since she saw Robert Powell in Jesus Of Nazereth (Google that too...).
My first beardy client lunch had gone well (more work, I never ordered the spaghetti) and the evening networking event with entrepreneurs just fine (gleaming white shirt, no tie, best suit, cracking shoes). By Friday my salt 'n pepper covering was not just fluff and needed attention, so the beard trimming paraphernalia was rescued from the back of the wardrobe to be juiced up overnight. I found some Euros, a cuff link and a shoe horn. The intention was to shape my new friend, I named him Barry, into a Lincoln, Shakespeare or Lenny Henry.
Henry, like Jeremy Paxman, has transcended beardyness while others, say Richard Branson, one cannot imagine shaved. Billy Connolly famously said he looked like a potato when he lost his trademark and occasionally purple facial prop. In one of the funniest lines ever he also said that, as he got older, his Crown Jewels looked like Stuart Grainger (Google it but be careful...).
My topiary proved to be easier in the planning than execution. I have yet to trim the buxus in the garden and the neighbour always cuts the hedge, so my difficulty served me right. A Bic disposable has ten fewer settings than a beard trimmer and I need no instruction on its use. This was new territory, so with an uncharacteristic reticence I chose a middling number five, with nothing but a few silver slivers falling into the basin. Impatient, I went straight to number two and sliced through a side-breezer. There were now two options: Phil Oakey of the Human League's lop-sided job circa 1983 (Google it...) or get the Bic out and see if near symmetry was achievable.
I chose the latter and will be a bit less Dumb And Dumber by Tuesday morning. As an interesting foot note, Jeremy Corbyn, that unspun and authentic new type of politician, whose interview on Marr I had just watched, seemed to have paid more attention to his beard for his appearance on the BBC on Sunday morning. And there was the niftyish dark jacket and gleaming white shirt. Seems even if you are planning a popular revolution smartening yourself up a bit matters.
I can think of only one person in my business orbit who, over the past decade, I would describe as consistently hirsuite. I now know he knows his way around the ten setting trimmer, which takes more time than Bic and rinse. Hats off for his patience and attention to follicle detailing. And by the way, his hair is always immaculate, clothes spot on and fingernails... Need you ask?
You might think this is trite and you can jolly well do what you like. And of course you can. But It's not really about the beard, or the shirt, or the jacket, or the fingernails. It's about respect. Be as beardy as you fancy, Jethro, but respect yourself, the condition of your facial hair and the people who have to look at it.
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about the author
Russell Wardrop is our Chief Executive. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.