The Beard Monologues: Paris

You open your eyes. And the first thing you see is a poster of Venice. You ask yourself every time why somebody chose such a kitschy poster to hang over that chair.

If you were in Venice right now, it would be embarrassing to send a postcard with that picture to your loved ones.
But when you lie in that bed, in which you sleep a few nights every year, you are happy about that yellowed sunset over the Rialto Bridge.

Because you know that if you are in Venice, you are in Paris.

Beardicted Paris

Then you are in a small room located on the first floor of an old tenement at Rue du Faubourg Saint Martin. In the 10th Arrondissement.

And after glancing at that Canal Grande, you do what you always do: you shower in that coarse small bathtub. You try to rinse out the shampoo in your hair and beard with that shallow water jet, you get ready for Paris, you put on the berret, you walk over the small courtyard with the tricycles, and with your right hand you push away the brass latch from that dark-green door to the courtyard.

On the pavement you behold an African hair salon. Then you turn right. Past the small Boulangerie to the Passage Brady. Through a line of sumless Indian restaurants. Past numerous hands that try to persuade you to eat lunch at theirs. And you think that someday you won’t pass by. Someday you should sit down. Eat a curry. Because you walked by so many times. And you cannot always pass by in life.

Beardicted Paris

Still, you continue. Do what you always do. Buy a baguette in a small Arabic shop in the Rue Saint-Martin, a few tomatoes, eggs and cheese for your breakfast on that big round table with that fawn vanity spread and a pile of old French newspapers. On the second floor at your landlord’s. But yet you stand at the cash desk from that small Arabic shop and only say what you can say in French: “Merci”.

And then “Au Revoir”.

Now you have a white shopping bag in your hand and make your way home. You keep on pausing for a moment. Having that feeling of having to check if you really are in Paris right now.

You lean against a corner of the house, looking at buildings, enjoying the sun. And you spot a man coming closer to you. You assume it’s one of the Arab immigrants working in this street. A man with a full beard and tanned skin. He asks you something. But you cannot understand him, because the language is foreign. You stammer something in French, embarrass yourself. Then in English. You uncover yourself as a tourist. And it bothers you that you have not yet been able to learn French.

Beardicted Paris

And then you receive the greatest compliment you’ve ever gotten. You listen to the stranger with the Arab appearance telling you something in broken English. He thought you were from his home country. He thought so because of your dark beard.

And then he nods approvingly up to your face. Praises the undergrowth on both cheeks, over your lips, under your chin.
You are happy and thank him. But have to deny it. You never know what he actually wanted and you wonder how one can locate a pale guy with blue eyes so falsely.

Still, touching your beard, you want to believe him and walk back to the appartement, that is yours for five days. And as always you tell yourself to stay one day.

Text: Lars W., Photos: Alicia Kassebohm


Alicia Kassebohm is a freelance photographer and communication design student at the Institude of Design Berlin. Last year she won the 3rd place of the Deutscher Jugendfotopreis. For iHeartBerlin she talks with interesting men about their goregous beards. If you are interested in getting your special beard portrait taken by Alicia feel free to get in touch with her at

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