So to cut a long story short I cycled around the world and grew the beard along the way and didn't really think about it. I was dirty, smelly and in a foreign countries all the time so naturally received my fair share of attention regardless of the facial hair I had.
What has been a little more interesting has been the amount of attention I have received since I have returned to England. I regularly get called names in the street. Here are a few examples!
Oh look, it's ginger Father Christmas
Hagrid! Hagrid! Yes, you, Hagrid!!!
Look, did you see the hairy man? (Father talking to daughter)
Mate, can you tell us where the pot of gold is?
Wow, thats epic man!
. . . and so on.
I get the most attention in the most inconvenient places too like at the urinal. Surely there is some sort of etiquette regarding talking to another man while he is taking a pee? Obviously not. To be fair this generally only happens after about 10.30pm when they've had a few beers. I then quite often leave the urinal and am immediately forced into having my photo taken with some group of lads who must be on a stag do or something. It's all harmless fun though. I wonder how many Facebook albums I have landed up in and I can only imagine the kind of comments that go along with them.
Turns out I can hide things in my beard too. Last nights rice, this mornings corn flakes and just yesterday my friends took great pleasure in putting four straws and a £20 note in there. Someone even managed to hide an Argos pencil without me even knowing. (They'd make a good pick-pocketer) It's got to the point where I have to wipe my face with a napkin and look at my reflection in cutlery after every mouthful of food.
Also, the beard isn't exactly, how do I say this?, a 'babe magnet'. I get a lot of attention but it's not the right type of attention really. To be honest I laugh at my reflection every single morning when I get up to wash my face so who can blame them.
So the plan was to keep the beard for a year and that time has come. A huge part of me is going to miss my beard. It has unintentionally become 'my thing' and people know me for it. But alas, it's time to shave it off, if for no other reason than I've tried swimming with it and whenever I turn my head to breath it goes into my mouth. Not a good look really!
So the year of the beard is over and with it one of the most interesting years of my life.