Sorry for the blurry photo. I’ll get Junkii to take a better one when he has a minute.

I can’t really afford a new sports car or a winter home in the Bahamas. Or liposuction. And I’m not interested in dumping Junkii for some young pool-boy type. All told, my options for midlife crises are pretty restricted. But I’m 40, so I need to do something.

So I’ve grown a beard. It’s free, and if I decide in the end that I don’t like it, I’ll shave it off. No harm no foul.

I’m being capricious, of course. What actually happened is that a couple of friends saw me with a week’s worth of stubble in some photos from our trip to East Africa in 2011 and have been on my case ever since to grow a beard. “It’ll look great!” they said.

Well, colour me unconvinced. It’s now nearly two weeks since I elected to put the razor blade away and I now have a full beard. Despite the increasing amount of grey in it, there are days when I think it looks okay. Of course, there are also times when I’m keen to shave it off. And I find my own mood is exceedingly dependent on the last few opinions expressed.

I got my hair trimmed earlier this week and everyone at the salon was fawning over the beard saying it looked fantastic. I was over the moon until I met my friend C for drinks and, in her drunken (and likely more honest) state, she told me she didn’t like it. I was crestfallen. Last night my friend J, who doesn’t usually like facial hair, was very complimentary. But today, N told me that it made me look old and she felt like she should address me more formally.

Every time someone gives their opinion (and you might be surprised how often that is) my own is either buoyed or sunk accordingly.

Frankly, I’m not a big fan of facial hair. I like being clean-shaven, and if I’m really honest with myself, I’m probably not gonna keep this beard much beyond another couple of weeks. And I’m sure as soon as I do shave it, someone will tell me how good it looked and I’ll be disappointed that it’s gone.

At least I know it only takes about two weeks to grow it back.


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