I admit to being a dinosaur. I was born in 1968, have never cared about pop culture or the “cool” thing to do, and drove used diesel cars that ran on vegetable oil for over a decade. Let me tell you, nothing screams “hip” as much as a used diesel car that smells like tempura shrimp when it drives by. If that isn’t proof enough, I shoot and hunt with a longbow. If you’re still not convinced, I smoke a pipe. If you’re STILL not convinced, well that’s all I’ve got. Anyway, this intro has been a long winded way of saying that while I’m out of touch with what’s “in” and popular, I am an observant person and I coach for a living so I have to be tuned in to people – at least to a certain degree!
In any event, something has been mildly percolating in my dome for a while that I recently put my finger on. I hope it’s as interesting a question to you as it is to me: When did it become OK for men to grow massive beards while accomplishing their daily tasks with hands as soft as those of an infant?
I actually think there is a cognitive dissonance of sorts to this beard vs. callus situation. I liken it to a certain generation simultaneously producing MMA fighters and “snowflakes.” The former can withstand massive amounts of punishment while the latter melt at the slightest discomfort. Likewise, there was a time when sporting some Paul Bunyan style growth required the swinging of axes and the felling of trees. And although clean shaven Popeye always downed his spinach in time to settle his bully nemesis Brutus’s hash, at least Brutus was scrappy enough to make having the beard make sense!
**Now seems like the appropriate time for a quick, but necessary, disclaimer! To my friends, family and students who sport some Paul Bunyan facial growth. None of you have the hands of an infant so it’s all good!
My point in all of this is I have no problem with guys growing massive beards. But please don’t have that be where the growth stops. Get some calluses by spending time in training of some kind. I don’t care if you rock climb, swing kettlebells, powerlift, train Jiu Jitsu or Muay Thai, but DO SOMETHING! While the signs of wear and tear from these undertakings are obviously seen on the outside, there is far more growth on the inside.
Avoid too much focus on how things look. The surface is just that. Go deeper.
Stay strong, my friends.