On Beards —
The reaction for the most part is the same. Strange looks, whispers, rude youths hollering out as I walk by. These are par for the course of a true beardman. That said there are those experiences that make up in spades for them. In Edinburgh a young spanish couple had a boy no more than 3 or 4 years old who they couldn’t get to stop pointing, jumping, and yelling, “Barba, barba, barba, grande barba!” In ireland on the walk to Wicklow an older gent cycling past shouted a reassuring, “Magnificent beard!” In Scotland walking to YWAM the first night a young lady leaned out of an apartment window above the street to shout an enthusiastic, “Great beard!” In Paris walking through the tunnels for the Metro a deaf guy even motioned “huge beard” to his girlfriend and then pointed in my direction for her to turn and see. (That’s the first time I’ve seen beard signed, but it’s fairly obvious when you see it.) I actually appreciate it that a dad leaned down to his daughter to point out the giant beard on that guy(at least that’s what I imagine he said as she looked up after) Though I think so far my favorite was while riding the Metro in Paris a young boy about 2 or 2 and a half looking over his dad’s shoulder actually reached out to touch the beard as his dad was taking a seat. He continued to be mesmerized by it during the entire ride and when he got off I gave him a little wave and he waved back. I guess back in regular life I’m so used to being around familiar people that I forget what an oddity it is to have a ginormous beard. I will say one thing by and large that among the bearded there is great commraderie and recognition. You feel an instant kinship or link with fellow beardmen (I suppose you would beard women too, but I’ve been fortunate so far to avoid that particular meeting). I’ve even had the beardless say that my ginormous beard made me more approachable and accessible to talk with upon initial contact, which I would have thought it would have an opposite affect. So there you have it, my observations on beards while traveling and otherwise.
I also have a few pictures from Paris too and one last one from Scotland.