The 5 Stages of Grief and Loss: Shaving Your Beard

Scott Ecklund
5 min readJun 29, 2015


Recently, I took a 6 month vacation from my beard trimmer. I grew a luscious, ginger chin scarf. It kept my cheeks warm, and my look, cold.

If you’ve never grown a beard, you do not know patience. You do not know temptation. You do not know heartbreak. You see, when a man grows a beard, he becomes more than just a man. He becomes a manly man.

There is significant personal value attached to a beard. For the first 4 months, no blade touched my face. I put my physical appearance on hold and made it through the awkward stage of growth, where the weird natural shape of your beard makes you look like you have given up on life.

Then, once fully grown, I risked it all by taking the shears to it, excruciating pain with every snip, trying to shape it into something beautiful. But in the end, it was all worth it. What started as the unkempt look of a homeless man, became the sexy, intriguing look of mystery, whose life was taken far too soon.

I made the choice. I killed my beard. I thought I would be okay, but I soon realized that a man without a beard is just as bad as a woman with one.

In this article, I have outlined the 5 stages of grief and loss I personally endured, and how to cope with them.

1. Denial

It’s hard to deny that you’ve cut off your pride and joy when literally everyone who has ever seen you with a beard will constantly remind you that you shaved.

Cutting off your beard will haunt you. I couldn’t sleep for days. Every time I did manage to get some shut eye, my beard was in my dreams. I acquired the habit of running my hands through my beard and once she was gone, all I felt was a stone jaw. There were phantom pains. My beard was part of me, part of who I was. I didn’t shave it. I amputated it.

Here’s how you cope with it: Lies. You tell yourself you look better without it. More socially acceptable. Wow. That’s a blatant lie. We all know those hipsters are taking over our social sectors. What with their “hipster buns” and their folk music. It’s hard to fool anyone into thinking they look better beardless. And I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s even harder to fool yourself. But, here’s the kicker, the more you lie to yourself, the more you believe yourself. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s scientifically proven.

2. Anger

Okay, so you’ve denied the truth that your beard is gone. You’re an idiot. Look in the mirror. If you keep looking at the selfies you took with your beard, wishing you could be your younger, wiser self, then you don’t deserve to have a beard. By now you should be feeling angry. Angry at the woman that made you shave it. Because, we all know, every time a beard is shaved, there’s a woman behind it. In my experience, this stage was almost enough to make me rip the hair from my chest and tape it to my chin. But reason won this battle. And I knew there would be far too much pain for me to finish that fight.

Here’s how you cope with it: Trim the woman, not the beard. If she doesn’t want warm thighs, then you obviously aren’t getting any. Need I say more? Thigh warmers. The number 4 on the list of useful applications for a beard.

3. Bargaining

This one is tough. We’ve covered what you should have already done. And I’m guessing, if you’re reading this, you haven’t done any of it. Well, I’ll come in clutch for you again. This stage is brief, believe me. Every psychiatrist you’ll be seeing will say this stage is about “If only I’d done this…” Bullshit. This stage is all about “If only I would have avoided this whole five stage process by not shaving my damn beard!”

How to cope: You don’t. By this point you are just wallowing in your own misery and beard clippings (I’m only assuming you haven’t cleaned those up yet).

4. Depression

If you’re depressed, focus up and start growing your next big adventure. Yeah I know the feeling, sad that you can’t touch it anymore. Sad that it doesn’t brush up on your chest when you’re curling up into bed. That it doesn’t take 20 minutes to dry when you get out of the shower. That you can’t show your coworkers how you can hold pencils in it. This is sad. But what’s more sad is that you are sad that you no longer have a renewable resource sprouting from your jawline. Yeah, your beard is on the same level as geothermal power. Now grow up and grow it out!

How to cope with depression: Well, you killed your best friend. The best wingman you’ve ever had. The one that brought the compliments to you. The conversation starter. You should be depressed. You deserve to be depressed. The only way to work out of this one is to grab a small glass, pour some scotch, neat. Sip it up. You’ll soon realize that whiskey is miracle grow for manliness. You’re gonna need it.

5. Acceptance

The hardest one. This stage is just… no. The worst stage, if you look at it as the end. Acceptance is basically saying, I’m good with a cold chin. I’m okay with looking like I’m 14 years old until i’m 40. This is the point where you just have to accept that your beard can’t last forever. I mean it could, but then you’d have to change some things in your life. Choosing to shave your beard is always circumstantial.

How to cope: Here’s what you do. You plan. Yeah, you accept that the beard is gone. Whatever. That doesn’t matter right now. You just take it with a grain of salt. But, you start planning. Planning the next great beard to grace your chin. And you start thinking about how great that beard is going to feel. And you start touching your hairless face. And you wonder what it will feel like to be able to grab a fistful of mane in your hands again. And you make a plan. You start slowly. Go a few weeks to see if she notices. Maybe trim it down a bit, keep it under control. This is all about the long con. The reward is a far reach, but it’s worth it. Every time you trim it, throw it up a length. By the time she notices, you’ll be on number six and she won’t want you to shave.

You see, it’s all about perspective. She doesn’t want your 15 year old hairless ass anymore. She want’s a man, and like I said earlier, having a beard makes you a manly man. So, go grow a damn beard again.