We’ve all got our rituals for dealing with a breakup. Some girls choose to engage in a freezing threesome with Ben and Jerry; others throw themselves into their studies. As a bloke, I have neither the sweet tooth nor the willpower to try either of these. Instead, I subscribe to an age old tradition amongst recently singled men – the breakup beard.
Deservedly dumped by my girlfriend in June, the challenge of maintaining my beard through the summer was tough, but it was a necessary healing process, and one I thoroughly recommend.
The fact is that we’ve come a long way since the 70s; the modern woman is not a fan of big beards. Certainly, a man interested in attracting the modern woman would do well to keep his face shaved, or at least trimmed. But the broken-hearted man does not want to attract the modern woman, or any woman for that matter. Rather, he seeks to show the world how broken hearted he is by not taking care of himself.
And despite the occasional itchiness, this grisly growth does have its up-sides. Firstly, it removes the arduous task of shaving from your daily routine. Secondly, your abstinence from going out on the lash and snaring a rebound shows that you did genuinely care about your ex. Who knows, a few weeks of stubbly self-pity might even win her back.
Even if it doesn’t work, the awesome mountain-man-beard should stay, if only for saving money on shaving foam. In many ways, the break-up beard could serve as a substitute for a girlfriend; cupping your soft, shaggy jowl is practically spooning, but without the risk of losing the covers and with the added advantage that breakup beard won’t complain about your breakup beard.
The immediate aftermath of a split is always going to be hard. Force of habit will urge you to call her, but if you want to move on, you must resist. Similarly, don’t grow impatient with the patchy beginnings of your beard. Wait it out. The novelty of being broken and burly at the same time can really help you get through this difficult month, or two, depending on how special she was.
And if you’re lucky enough to be unfortunate and get dumped this month, you at least have “Movember” as an excuse for getting your Sikh on. Recovering from a breakup while raising awareness of male cancer initiatives? You’d be doing the world a service, old boy.
In my view, it’s worth growing a breakup beard just to experience the liberating feeling of shaving it off. Forty days of growing a formidable forest of facial foliage culminated in the satisfying epiphany that I was ready to return to my former glory. Cue a wry smile in the mirror and my razor-brought rebirth was complete. I think the key to surviving any breakup is to take yourself to the brink, deconstruct your usual self and appreciate the gravity of what you lost. Then, when you’ve come to terms with it, you’ll be ready to try again; such is the magic of the breakup beard.