One year ago this Sunday, I shaved. Like any other morning when I’d have to get up and go to work or appear in some sort of formal capacity in front of civilized people, I showered, dressed, and shaved. All was normal. Things were smooth.
Later that day I headed down to a conference in scenic Lynchburg, Virginia. I ate dinner, I had a good night’s sleep, I woke up and went for a run, I got cleaned up. Looking at my razor that morning, I thought “no… not today. In fact, being the week of Thanksgiving where all that is expected of me is eating and lounging, no – not for the next seven days.”
If I am being honest with myself, it was by day five or six that I knew I wasn’t going back. “No Shave November” diffused most people’s questions or comments. By the time December rolled around, people assumed that it was my attempt to ward of the cold. Come March, there were serious concerns.
19th century Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Growing a beard is a habit most natural, scriptural, manly, and beneficial.” I could make a case that fly fishing, and outdoorsmanship in general, likewise meets all four of those categorical distinctions. Perhaps that is why beards have long been associated with hunters and anglers.
While artists, politicians, and hipsters co-opt the look from time to time, fishermen throughout the generations have always borne a mane. A scroll down social media or a flip through vintage photographs will illustrate the timelessness of this point. Like so many things in the culture of fly fishing, beards don’t make the experience… but they are certainly a part of the periphery.
How long will I keep my beard? I don’t know. There are no plans for it’s removal at present (at least by me…). Since this post will remain on the site for perpetuity, there is the good chance I’ll be clean-shaven one day in the future and someone will question “why?”. But I’m confident in saying, that even in the event that does occur, all I have said is true. It’s not the beard: it’s me.
Want to read a “beard pro’s” opinion on beards in fly fishing? Check out this post where I interviewed Tony from Yukon’s Beard. There isn’t a day where I don’t have beard oil from Yukon’s Beard on my face. The stuff is great for your face, smells excellent, and is made from all-natural ingredients by top-notch people. Use the code “CASTINGACROSS” to save 15% on your order, and let not thy beard be thy downfall.