Facial hair discrimination

I once walked into class and was greeted with, “Hey, look who just came right off the boat!” At the time, I was sporting a rather bushy beard that probably warranted the comedic comment likening me to an immigrant, and as such, I find it pretty hilarious.

My beard is a very important part of my identity — well, ever since I have been able to grow one — so I like to keep it around. I will admit that it’s a seasonal thing, and there is a possibility that I will shave it off for the summer (as I have yet to experience what it is like to have a full-grown beard in the heat), but that is up to my discretion.

However, my facial hair seems to bring with it a mostly bad connotation. Every time a human resources person has talked to me in preparation for an interview, he or she always says to make sure that I’m clean-shaven. It supposedly makes you seem more prim, more proper, more organized and just all around a better hire.

What’s wrong if I show up to an interview with a beard, albeit a neatly trimmed one? I don’t see how facial hair marks somebody as a lousy worker. For that matter, isn’t the whole point of an interview to see how the job candidates handle themselves and to get a better look at them? Therefore, it seems counterintuitive to the whole process to prejudge just based on whether the candidate has some scruff on his face.

The one benefit I can find is that facial hair often makes the bearer appear older, which can certainly be useful in some situations. I’m told that with my beard, I look to be pushing my late 20s, even though I’m actually only 23.

I have even come to find out that some girls are fans of facial hair, so that’s an added bonus of which I previously was not aware. Rumor has it, though, that some girls will hold their boyfriend’s beards for ransom by threatening not to shave their legs; that right there just goes into a completely different hairy situation.

Enough of the perks, though. Back to the topic at hand: this typifying of gentlemen with facial hair. What exactly is so wrong with facial hair? Now, I can understand if it’s starting to grow wild and unkempt. In that case, poorly groomed facial hair reflects badly on guys, but those of us who rep it right shouldn’t be discriminated against.

Luckily, I think the trend is starting to shift, and facial hair is starting to become more reputable, so to say. Brianne Howard, a YSU graduate student, put it quite eloquently: “Faces aren’t property. No one should have say on its real estate except you. Beard power!”

As part of this argument, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell all those guys out there who want to grow facial hair or already sport a burly look that a beard trimmer is the best investment you can make. I just recently purchased one this winter, and now I have finally been able to maintain a good-looking beard for longer. It’s better than growing it out until it goes too far, then going clean-shaven again as the only alternative to a trim.

I have not been clean-shaven since Dec. 29, and I am hoping to keep the beard as my “offseason” beard until Cleveland Indians Opening Day in April.

Nevertheless, I promise that my beard will be kept looking good the whole while.