By Adam Capelin
During my time in Nepal and India I decided to grow a beard. That’s not quite correct, I actually decided to stop shaving, and a beard decided to grow on my face. Naturally I was quite proud of my growing beard, I even had the odd compliment from a lady that it suited me. Keira didn’t like my beard. Apart from the attention my beard received from other women, she complained that it tickled her face. I think she was jealous, because she couldn’t grow a beard despite deciding to stop shaving too.
My beard was content to exist in a place where a lot of other men were sporting their own fine hairy nests. Seasoned adventurers would stroll down the dusty streets of Thamel in Kathmandu after returning from lofty treks with mountain beards. A beard commands respect from street vendors and tour operators. It’s harder to rip off someone who looks like they’ve seen it all before. We met Shaun from NZ who was planning on travelling to the Karakorum in Pakistan and needed a beard to ease his passage through Muslim lands. He hated his beard but accepted that sometimes his beard could do the talking for him. With enough hair on your top lip, it does appear like your beard is indeed the one talking.
In the past my beard has given my neck itchy signals that it wanted to be shaved back. I’ve never grown a beard past a week. The itchy stage becomes unbearable. In the office, the corporate business world demands beards shaved away. The models of Men’s cosmetics look like they were genetically engineered to be beardless. But in Nepal, beards are as common as boots, they are the badges of Mountain Men, and the mountains were calling my beard.