What do you get when a group of transguys get together? No, it’s not one of those lightbulb jokes (though I should probably try to think up a few of those). The answer, amongst other things, is facial hair. Plenty of beard action. Whilst a phallus may be the Holy Grail for some transmen, facial hair is pretty high up there for most of us.

So why the obsession? It is rather a stereotype – person transitions, gets testosterone, gets beard. I guess it’s because it’s such a visible indication that this sh*t is working that so many of us spend so long staring thoughtfully at our chins in the mirror. Whatever other changes take place, we do still seem to use facial hair as a sort of litmus test of ‘how far along’ we are.

Few people born female-bodied have significant facial hair. Some do, of course, and because it is seen so much as an indication of masculinity, problems and prejudice can arise as a result. Equally, in the case of transwomen, facial hair is identified as ‘a giveaway’ (sic) and becomes part of the ever-expanding lexicon of humour against trans people.

For transmen, though, the hair helps. Not everyone – despite what I said at the start of this post, FTM meet-ups are not gnome conventions. However, with facial hair forming one of the most readily identified signs of being male, a hirsute chin is a covetable thing. I get jealous of the guys I meet with a chin that could have come straight out of Lumberjack Magazine, less because I want the same, but because the chance of them being misgendered is so much smaller.

So what of my own luxuriant growth? I am definitely the King of Bumfluff, the Viscount of Fuzz, and the Prince of the Occasional Wiry Protuberance. No tree felling for me yet. I do shave, once a week or so-ish, but mainly to mow the fluff. After all, what grown man has a face full of soft downy stuff? I do have a few ‘proper’ hairs coming though, but until they decide to join up, or I somehow knit them into a little chin wig, I’m stuck in boydom.

Speaking of shaving, I’m a bit hit and miss with my technique. I wet shave at the moment, religiously going through the process of steaming, lathering, scraping, rinsing, patting, lotioning, and so on. But I still miss a lot of that fluff. Perhaps it’s as well the hair is so pale, or I’d look like a dog with mange.  I think I may be a little too light-of-touch when shaving. After all, my previous experience was of armpits, and you’ve got to go easy there. Also, I don’t want to cut myself and get laughed at for my poor grooming efforts. Practice, as they say, makes perfect.

I’m considering forking out for an electric shaver. It’ll have to be one of those ones with three heads, as my Dad has always had one of those, and in my mind, at least, that is therefore the sort of shavers men use. I shall start saving my pennies, and see what kind of job I do with that. By then my stubble might be actual stubble…who knows?

Am I tempted to grow a beard? Of course – if my hair shows any signs of growing evenly and regularly, I’m going to have to go for the Brian Blessed look at least once. Failing that, I do like a goatee on a man, or might go for the creative soul patch, or even the Limp Bizkit rock-chin look. Or am I a bit old for that?

Until all this comes to pass, I shall just have to be content with sitting ruffling my chin fluff with a thoughtful look on my face.