Synaesthesia Magazine Seven Deadly Sins - Page 37

Beard of Kings

Monday morning aboard my early morning London bound train; I find a seat somewhere near the middle of my carriage and try to get comfortable. I take my tweed jacket off, fold it neatly and place it on the seat next to me. I then sit back and try to relax - but for a while now something has been playing on my mind.

Generally while on the train my eyes wander. I see men in smart suits, women in fitted pencil skirts and others just preparing themselves for the long journey ahead. My eyes are soon drawn to one person in particular. I look away, and then back again - I give this gentleman a double-look.

Why? Well, because he has a beard, but not just any beard – a mighty beard, a beard of Kings, a beard to be proud of - the beard that I want upon my very own face.

You see, I have Beard Envy.

It’s a condition that affects roughly 2 in 5 men, and it’s tough to live with and can cause serious problems in later life.

The symptoms for me started around two years ago when I began to notice the fad for facial hair - handlebar moustaches and medium length beards started to pop up everywhere while I was at university. I didn't quite catch on at first but I certainly admired these hairy chaps and their fuzzy accomplishments.

Then as time went on I started to get it.

Hairy Caterpillars and MOvember

I decided to grow a very pitiful moustache for MOvember. With a hairy caterpillar under one’s nose, I felt more confident, edgier, and (dare I say it) more masculine. You almost feel a connection between others like yourself; we belong. Walking through the high street my fellow 'Hairymen'

would stop me in my tracks, "hey, sit with us, lets admire each others moustaches", "heck lets form a band" they would exclaim. I proudly sported my MO loud and proud. "Yes, that's right, lap it up, admire it, stroke it if you like", I would suggest to people when they looked at me.

I felt this new lease of life, I felt like a real man, a man with a moustache. For just over one month I sported that beast under my nose.

However, my girlfriend wasn't so keen on it. That's the thing about facial hair, not everyone gets it. This is what makes Beard Envy even harder to live with.

Facing Facts

The MO gave me this new found wanting for a beard of some sorts. I began to feel like my face was missing something, lacking, some would say - growth. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks - I was 23 years old when I realised, "hey, I can't grow a beard".

This is the first stage of dealing with the condition - admitting to yourself that you have a problem. After this harrowing realisation I often found myself skipping lectures and social events in order to find solitude instead at carpet showrooms, there to just stroke the huge selection of soft fabrics.

On trains I would avoid sitting anywhere near any man who possessed a beard - the result - envy. I even went as far as to confront a chap full of facial hair. Stuttering I said: "I like... Love your beard, how can I...?”

For some reason he didn't respond…in fact he just made with great haste.

The Online Community

Once I had admitted to myself that I had the condition it was then time to try to do something about it. I knew at that moment that I would need help.

I searched Beard Envy online and found a number of forums. Many people were in the same situation as me. We all had this same longing for a hairy face, a desperation which at any moment could spiral out of control.

Dealiing with the Condition

Beard Envy affects people in so many different ways and for so many different reasons, not one sufferer is the same in how they deal with their condition.

I obsess over my pending membership to the "Facial Hair Club", and conclude that mine has obviously been lost in the post. I deal with this by just feeling sorry for myself. Others take matters into their own hands. Some spend every morning doodling a hand-drawn beard onto their face (tried that, was forcibly removed from a Pizza Express in Bracknell). Some just simply grow a tash in order to satisfy their hairy needs. Where as others, who can actually grow some hair on their face, sport a pathetic excuse for a beard, one that can only be described as bum fluff or wispy arm hair.

A beard gives you warmth, a certain prowess, authority, ruggedness and something to just generally admire for free.

The Treatment...?

I would like to say that the condition is treatable. But I'm not sure! Last year almost ten thousand dollars was spent on research at a university in Boston in order to study Beard Envy and recent reports carried out in Germany suggest that scientists are a step closer to finding the exact cause of the condition and a means of preventing it. Until that day I will just have to live with the fact that I cannot grow a beard to save my life.

I am a young man with Beard Envy and I'm not the only one, I'm sure.

"On trains I would avoid sitting anywhere near any man who possessed a beard - the result - envy."