MILLS' MUSINGS: Grow a beard, and thank me later

There are numerous things I could choose to write my column about this week. With everything happening on this floating rock we call a home, and in particular our specific corner of said rock, there are possibilities aplenty. Amongst those possibilities are a number of opinions and stands I could also choose to take in this column, but I have instead decided to write about something near and dear to my heart: beards.

I firmly believe every man should at least in one point in his life make a concerted effort to grow a beard. Once that beard is grown to the liking of the individual, that man should keep that beard for a period of no less than three months. Through the growing process and quarter year of having said beard, the individual will have a better understanding of life and the world around him.

The last half of that last sentence may be a bit hyperbolic, or an over exaggeration, but I genuinely believe growing a beard provides many benefits to the person attempting to grow it.

First off, beards teach patience. I’ve learned this from first-hand experience. Ever since I was a young pup, I’ve always wanted a beard. I couldn’t exactly tell you why, other than I thought they looked cool, and figured if Abraham Lincoln had a beard, then so should I.

Granted, some men can fall asleep and wake up to a lush face full of follicle fortune. But for the rest of us, growing a beard can become a chore. I was the ripe old age of 24 before I decided to let-go of the babyface lifestyle and let my man-mane run free, although there were many attempts to do so before that.

In college, I tried growing a beard several times. However, my late blooming genetics wouldn’t allow it, and I walked around Cumberlands’ campus looking like a mangy mutt. I adopted the nickname “patchy Pete,” would grow frustrated and shave.

So for those of us who can’t grow a beard overnight, the process of growing a beard will require a pinch of patience. You will go through an awkward phase where you’ll feel disheartened and want to quit. Don’t. Allow yourself to feel those feelings of defeat, brush yourself off, and continue on the righteous path of beard growing.

You may have a patch of two where hair won’t grow. Again, I preach patience as the surrounding hair will eventually cover said patches and you’ll soon have a face full of hair. Those patches won’t even be noticeable when it’s all said and done.

Once fully grown, your beard will begin to take on a personality for itself. It may be a well tempered beard and fall into place neatly and perfectly everyday. This will teach a man gratitude and thankfulness.

Your beard may come in a bit unruly and be a tangled mess, this again ties back into the virtue of patience this will instill in some men as they spend time taming their beard each morning.

Beards also send the message that one is loyal. If a man is loyal enough to the process of growing a beard, then he must be loyal in other aspects of life, as well. I’m not sure that this can be backed up with any kind of scientific or sociological evidence, but I have a beard and rarely change my position on anything. That could be attributed to loyalty or stubbornness, but regardless, I think the point still stands.

For those of us self-conscious about the roundness of our cheeks, the shape of our chins, or worried about having more than one chin, a beard works wonder in helping mask all of those insecurities.

I realize that there are other external factors that can prevent a man from growing a beard — some jobs prohibit beards, some partners may not find them attractive. So I understand that not every man will have the opportunity to make this decision for himself. However, if you are in a position to give it a go, I fully recommend that you give it a shot.

Jarrod Mills is a staff writer at the Times-Tribune. You can contact him at

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