Before we start here let me be very, very clear – I have MANY thoughts on gender coding and stereotyping and similar such nonsense. That’s a much more intense post for another day, and I’ll happily talk about it elsewhere.
This post is my experience, so directed towards those who grew beards as a result of second puberty thanks to T hormones. But if you’re bearded and ftm, mtf, masc, femme, enby, agender, or anything else, please know that you are fantastic and valid.
This is a light-hearted post, one of the million or so things that have happened to and around this transmasc person that never seem to crop up elsewhere.
So let’s talk about beards. Specifically, let’s talk about obsessively noticing, examining, and comparing beards.
Before I even started on T hormones I wondered, well, a lot of things, but one of them was whether I’d be able to grow a beard. My Dad has had one as long as I remember. Older photos show it came in stages – from clean-shaven through sideburns through muttonchops, to finally meet in the middle, but to me, he’s always had a short, neat, trimmed, full beard. He’s the only male in the immediate family, who I regularly saw, on either side who, to me, has always had a beard, nobody else comes to mind.
As the hormones progressed, I got my Dad’s hairline, and fat storage (hellooooo barrel stomach), but I’ve never quite gotten the beard.
Don’t get me wrong. I have one. Check it out:
But I look at it and I see all the spots that don’t quite fill in and all the bits that grow different lengths.
When I first started growing proper facial hair, it was my chin that got it first. The rest filled in slowly – and if you look, you can see I’ve never gotten a full stache, and there’s those spots either side of my mouth, down at my chin, which just don’t grow in.
That last is forever my sadness as it stops me from having a chinstrap, which I suuuuuper want.
But that aside. As this process all began, I developed a hypersensitivity to other beards. Now, I’m certain nobody really notices my little thin spots, not really, though I have been very paranoid about it a number of times.
But I notice how eeeeeeevery beard grows, now. Let’s take a look at some celeb beards that I, and soon you, will never unsee:
The Chris Pratt: patchy – little sections of lighter or no hair.
The Keanu Reeves – hairless cheek – vertical lines down the side of the mouth with nooooo hair growing.
The Hugh Dancy: both patchy in horizontal lines down his cheeks, and also a prickly brush, look at that, that’s the beard that when you run your hand over it sounds like someone running through a forest!
This is what I automatically see, these days, on every person with a beard. I compare it to my own, I spot differences and similarities. It’s just habit now, but originally it was my way of assuring a very self-conscious me that whatever my facial hair did, someone else’s did it too.
So, through all of the stages, I’ve had the knowledge that beards grow differently on everyone, so mine, which started growing in my 30s,is just as valid as someone who started sprouting at 16.
And now here I am, all trimmed nicely, to say hey, it doesn’t matter what does or doesn’t grow. Some cis dude is looking at their facial hair and questioning it just the same way you do. But it doesn’t matter what grows or doesn’t, you’re as handsome and valid as anyone else.
Beardy peace out xx