A beardy short story by Collette Saunders
Every face tells a story, and so too a man’s beard.
Welcome to my story of the faces of Aussie manliness that I’ve ran my clippers and comb through over the past 32 years. Yes you read right! 32 years of semi circles around a chair, which includes 25 years of business ownership, now semi retired and still unstoppable.
Before beard balms, beard oils, beard straighteners and obviously the internet, a bloke would keep his beard as best he could, before he eventually started chewing on it and his Mrs verballed him so much he made off down to the Barbershop. These days a beard has become the mark of a man. A statement of virility. A thing with which he can woo a woman to where she has no self control (apparently). I blame Vikings and Game of Thrones you know. Before them I was probably doing quarter of the beards I’m doing now. Line ups and beard fades are now the norm and with them has come a standard that every customers expects a barber to be adept at. Cutthroat shaving and edging gained such popularity over the past decade that it has returned as a necessary part of training in the shop. From the 80’s to the 2010’s we were seeing very little of it as the clean shaved face was preferred or a bloke simply trimmed it himself at home. Today the tailoring to suit the style has become the accessory to the whole look, and each one is unique.
As much as we chisel and shave them into a the shape that was shown us when he flipped out his phone revealing the latest trend, each beard we tend to will be unique. No two faces are the same. No two colourings will be identical. Growth patterns may be similar in some but where those patterns occur will never be the same from person to person. Here is where the skill of the barber comes in. If one can shape the most dog legged facial growth into a symmetrical work of art then you can work any beard that sits in your chair. The hardest tasks are the ones that will prove your hand and you should welcome them.
I wish smart phones had been around in the 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s. Imagine the timeline of faces. The shapes, the shades, the expressions, the stories behind their eyes, the lives behind the mask of hair. For me it has been 3 decades of seeing the man through the beard and creating that uniqueness for him. You’re able to do that by conversation and learning about him, what he feels comfortable with. From there it then evolves, with the making of the sculptured facade that he will wear, and which has your unique signature on it.
Collette Saunders @collettecutthroats
Board Director @jackreedfoundation
Blog Spot @barbershopmag
Brisbane, Queensland Australia