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My Beard - A Brief Chronicle

By Idris Jones
January 2005, Machynlleth
A digital story from Capture Wales

Do women like beards?

It's often said that women don't really like men with beards... here we find out!

"Apart from my all too obvious two-dimensional challenge my beard is probably my most prominent feature. Brave people - because I look fierce - ask me about it frequently. I remained clean shaven for the first two of my 14 years as a Royal Naval Sailor. Because of the complicated rigmarole involved in gaining permission to grow.

However, during a beard growing competition at sea, when all rules are relaxed, I discovered that not having to shave cut my time in the bathroom in half. Thus allowing for another ten minutes in bed. This seemed an excellent reason for adopting a beard.

Having grown the beard and found that it enhanced my features, so that I suffered less from 'moon face' syndrome. I decided to keep it until - at a party with several bearded friends - a nameless person suggested: "I know, let's start the New Year clean-shaven". Seemed such a good idea at the time.

Next morning I was dismayed to feel that my face was rough in a new way. I rushed to the bathroom mirror to find that every bathroom outlet was clogged with hair and that my face was cut to ribbons. I gazed in horror at my forgotten round face staring back at me and vowed never to shave again and I haven't.

My beard has gone through many metamorphoses since. Most notably the removal of the moustache which was mandatory while working for Her Majesty but was a constant annoyance to me: getting caught in my sandwiches and laden with things like soup and Guinness froth.

It is often been said that men with beards repel women. However, although my mother hates it, I have found this not to be the case."

Idris Jones

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am an IT Trainer in Machynlleth, having come home some 10 years ago to care for, but not look after - she does that herself, my aged mother who's 90 this year. In previous "lives" I have been an engineer, a labourer in the wool industry, a sailor (Radio Electrical Mechanic) and a studio and live sound engineer. I have never married but hope to do so in the near future as I have recently found someone who can cope with, not to say control, me. I enjoy rude health with the aid of a vast range of prescribed drugs.

What's your story about?
My story is about the reasons for and justification of my beard.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
I thought I might be able to answer questions that are often put to me about my beard. In this way, when the story is "on line" I will be able to refer future inquisitors to the website. I do not mean to imply that I am annoyed by these enquiries, but this will, I believe, be a pleasant way for people to find the answer to their question. I hope I have achieved a balance of humour and information.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
The sense of achievement in being able to fashion a story using a new medium, albeit with much able assistance and the feeling of working with a very diverse group of people toward a common but very different goal successfully.

Your comments

"As the creator hoped - it was perfectly balanced... the story that is, not the beard. Although I think it's much better without the 'tache :) It made me think of the time my dad had his beard shaved to within an inch (well, 1/8 of an inch really) of its life. Never before have I been so terrified by a member of my own family... and he vowed never to let his (now ex) girlfriend loose with the clippers again ... " Kez Price, Machynlleth, Wales.

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