But last week I was on loadsanight shifts, and I simply didn't bother to shave. By the weekend I was an embryonic beardie, nothing really obvious, but it was very much on the way. Various reactions ranged from Ms T being unwilling to be 'facially intimate' and Mrs Magpie describing me as 'a Ray Mears lookalike'. I was inspired a bit by seeing pictures of Henry VIII and other beardies at the National Portrait Gallery; if a beard was cool for a renaissance prince it ought to be OK for a Hendo.
You become almost a different man with a beard, I found. A bit devil-may-care. A tad rakish. Insouciant. I even found my barbecuing was a bit more confident. Shaving? What a bore. Yes, maybe I could be more of a man with a beard.
And this was backed up by researchers; the internet site which lauds beards cites researchers from Harvard: "the male beard communicates an heroic image of the independent, sturdy, and resourceful pioneer, ready, willing and able to do manly things." Hurrah for beards!
But by Sunday it was itching like fury, so I shaved it off.