I am the gingerbeard man
In order to ward off boredom, raise money for charity and add a bit of a competitive element to the workplace, our GM of Sales and Marketing has instigated a beard-growing competition. 
After pretty much everyone else in the team had confirmed their entry, I thought I better throw my hat in the ring. I did, however, push that there be an Amish neckbeard category. 
You see, the last time I “attempted” to grow a beard was in South America many moons ago, and for some reason I had a distinct lack of ability to grow hair above the jawline. In that instance the decision to not shave was less about charity and more about the dearth of hot water. I didn’t fancy trying to hack a neckbeard off with a cold razor, especially in the piranha-infested Pantanal. Anyway, that beard lasted for about three months and was pretty.
Sorry, pretty ugly.
So horrific, in fact, that it brought about a few interesting incidents. Directly after South America I headed to Ibiza for my sister’s 30th birthday and somewhat foolishly decided to keep my beard. Amongst a sea of bronzed gods and goddesses, I, the unkempt Antipodean must have appeared to the locals as homeless; someone you’d typically find living behind a dumpster. In fact, my ginger-speckled beard was so disheveled that when I went out clubbing people were making a beeline for me across the dancefloor. “Why?”, you ask. To see if they could buy ecstasy. My derelict appearance apparently so out of character that I could be nothing other than a druglord.
To be fair to them, I had performed zero maintenance on my beard, so what little hair I did have above-jaw was starting to curl into my mouth at the sides. 
So, as you can probably guess, it was with trepidation that I entered the contest. I am pleased to say though that from the first few weeks it appears that I have developed better skills in the facial hair growing department. Not only do I have more hair north of the jawline, it is less ginger. Sure, that’s probably because it has more grey, but in these trying times it’s important to appreciate the small wins.
Speaking of winning, I’m rated mid-pack in our work comp. Here’s my official write up:
Ryan “The Luck of the Amish” Astle
“Ryan has been quick to downplay his beard growing chops stating his beard makes him look Amish. Micro-aggressions aside, Ryan works in the creative field and there isn’t a marketing manager alive who can’t grow designer facial hair so while the odds are long, keep an eye on Ryan for an outside place. Odds 30:1”
Will I win the comp? Will I change my name to Ezekiel and turn to a life of milking goats? All those answers and more in the next installment of DadMan.

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