Please beard with me

NOW that I’ve decided to do it, it’s obviously too late. When it comes to fashion, I’m always the one who arrives as everyone else is draining their glasses and saying their goodbyes. If you have a beard you can shave it all off now, because I’m going to grow one.

I’m not sure I deserve a beard. For a start I talk too much. I still feel that proper bearddom should be reserved for the strong, silent type. The facial hair covering the mouth area does its talking for it. Like the Tom Crean-type, standing on the prow of The Endurance looking out into the South Georgian sea and limiting his opinions to pithy statements about how this area was a “hoor for the pack-ice”

Or a backwoodsman walking stoically through the forests of the 19th century American frontier limiting his opinions to observations that this area was a “divil’s own place for the pumas.”

Now beard-wearers are no longer silent. They do a lot of talking about how “the sound is so much richer on vinyl” and “his earlier stuff was much better”.

Despite my lack of qualifications, I’m going to grow one — just to see what it’s like. I had a goatee once but it was straggly and made me look like I was turned down for promotion to a trainee manager position in Quinnsworth.

People have their own reasons for growing one. Roy Keane grew one briefly, in order to resemble even more closely, the erstwhile Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Other sportsmen do it to reinforce a sense of team identity. The Tyrone footballers in the mid-noughties used the space occupied by their facial hair to crowd the pitch even more. Gordon D’Arcy hid things in his.

Currently mine is at the iron filings stage; dissolute stubble that hasn’t organised itself into anything much, but has revealed a small but growing group of grey stubble. Looking at them closely, the greys look like an aerial shot of insurgents hiding in the woods. In order to get rid of them I’d have to raze the forests but ultimately, it’s only delaying the inevitable as there is evidence of another grey mutiny on top of my head. The growing stage will be a little tortuous. Like it or not, unless immaculately-shaped on a chin so strong and regular you could use it to mark out foundations, stubble gives the impression that things are not going according to plan.

I’m visiting my old primary school this week and I wish I could be clean shaven just to show them I’ve turned out ok. But I will persevere. Once it has attained a shape, facial hair does garner some sort of respect. I’ve already downloaded an image showing the trustworthiness scale of beards. I can aim for ‘philosopher’ or ‘Abraham Lincoln’ but apparently should avoid ‘Hulk Hogan’, ‘Chin Tuft’, ‘Pencil Thin Chin Strap’ or ‘Werewolf’. (It’s going to take some time, please beard with me.)

On an entirely different matter, an even more stubbly Colm will bring his Ireland’s Got Mammies comedy show to the Grainstore in Ballymaloe on Mother’s Day, Sunday March 30th.

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