For more than 12 years I had a beard, but I shaved it off this spring.

As the Labor Day holiday passed, I secretly started growing my beard again and no one noticed.

Well, no one except my dear one, Catherine.

As I traverse the halls of Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc., not a word is uttered about the new beard.

I’m a regular inside the Pinal County Courthouse in Florence, and it seems that no one notices.

Are people just being nice by not acknowledging my beard? It’s been more than a week and I think it’s noticeable by now. Maybe they don’t recognize me anymore.

I look like a youngster without a beard and like an old Billy Goat with the beard. I can accept that.

I just wasn’t as self-confident without my beard.

I decided to do some research on beards and thanks to the internet there is a vast depository of knowledge at my fingertips.

I found one authority on beards, If you want to find out the skinny, you just have to go to the source.

Balding Beards put out an interesting Top 10 list of why a beard communicates confidence.

Apparently the No. 1 reason is that “beards just make you seem more masculine.”

As a man who is pushing another birthday with falling testosterone levels, this sounds like a great idea. It makes me at least look like a “full-grown” man!

No. 2: “A beard all but demands an alpha male mindset.”

Basically they’re saying if you see yourself as a strong man, others will too.

No. 3: “A beard adds to your sex appeal.”

Honestly, after 55 I’m not really too worried about this anymore. I think sex appeal has probably passed by me by now.

No. 4: “Beards make you feel more mature.”

I’ve never been as mature as I am right now. Though, for those youngsters out there, a beard certainly signals that you are no longer a boy and, again, makes you feel more masculine.

No. 5: “Beards make you seem more aggressive.”

This I kind of agree with. People tend to give me less of a hard time when I am wearing a beard vs. when I’m not. I think it may have something to do with G.I. Joe and the fact he got a fuzzy beard in his second release back in the early 1970s. G.I. Joe was cool and everyone knew it — even my sister’s Barbies.

No. 6: “Beards can elevate your social status.”

I think this is total bunk if the beard is not properly taken care of. Only criminals and pirates have beards, right? That’s what my dad used to tell me. I see properly trimmed beards as a sign of intelligence. As a criminal justice reporter, I always want people to think that I’m smart, so I probably should have a beard.

No. 7: “The beard adds confidence as it relates to fighting.”

Well, I’m a lover and not a fighter, so I remain undecided if a beard is a positive or a negative in a fight. I suppose your opponent could pull your beard during an altercation. They are also quite flammable if you happen to be in a firefight. Apparently, a Pentagon study showed that men with beards were more combat-effective than those without.

No. 8: “Beards make you seem confident in your grooming skills.”

This is total truth and something you need to know if you’re thinking of growing a beard. If you’ve never used an electric trimmer, purchase one and start practicing on the cat or dog. They’ll love it!

No. 9: “A beard makes you seem like your own man.”

If you have a beard you’re either a beatnik, a hippy, a lumberjack, a biker, a cowboy or a college professor. Whatever you are, with a beard you are a “non-conformist” for sure.

No. 10: “Beards make you seem more intelligent.”

This is the No. 1 reason to have a beard, in my opinion. When you’re intelligent, you’re also confident. A beard makes you the old wise man who lives in a cave in the mountains. People come to you for advice. Of course those old wise men are often hermits who live alone. If you keep the beard properly trimmed and cleaned, you don’t have to live alone in a cave.

All in all, with a beard comes great responsibility. You have to take care of it like a young puppy. It needs love and kindness to become a great icon of who you are. Or you can always just refuse to shave anymore because it’s just too much work and be the non-conformist that’s hiding deep inside your soul.

Either way, you’ll look great in your new beard!


Justice reporter Jim Headley can be reached at