Sunday, August 22, 2010

Of Beards and Men

As I write this I am sporting a 3 day old beard.  I took a few days off last week at a cottage and on a whim, I started the beard.  For most of my adult life, my face has been devoid of hair.   My forays into facial hair have all been short-lived and widely spaced.  It's not because I can't grow a beard, I grow a great beard.  In my youth I could go from clean shaven to full beard in about a week.  I had a full mustache by the middle of the 8th grade (Any St. Mary's girls want to back up this claim of mine?).  I always attributed it to the enormous amount of testosterone that must flow through my body (I blame this for a lot of my actions). It will be interesting to see this time, how long it takes, and honestly how much comes out gray.  I normally keep my face clean shaven, for my wife, my job, and because I look younger without facial hair.  This week, however, screw the job, screw looking older, and with apologies to my wife, but I am growing a beard.

     The question that now begs to be asked is what kind of beard to grow?  Full on fully bearded?  Chin Strap? Goatee or Van Dyke?  Burnsides?  While they each have their individual merits, for me, I always default to a chin strap style ala James Brolin in Hotel.  It says "Classy" to me, and for those of you who remember the TV show, he went out with Connie Sellecca every night, so it must be a rocking beard.  It's more maintenance than most beards, and you have to get the trimming right, but I think it's worth it. 

     I could go full on bearded, I've got the genes to do it.  My facial hair comes in fully everywhere.  I had a brother who used to try and grow a beard, but it would come in, in patches, like a badly seeded lawn.  Not a good look on anyone.  He eventually opted for just a mustache, which didn't look half bad.  The best quote I have ever heard on growing mustaches came from my Father.  I asked him one day why he he didn't grow a mustache, because presumably he could grow a great one (That's where I got my testosterone from).  His reply was this...  "Willie", he said "I never saw the need to cultivate over my lip, that which grew wild in the crack of my ass! ".   I miss my Dad, he was one of a kind.

     So why not go fully bearded?  For me, it's because I know too soon, I would start to resemble another TV star from my youth, Grizzly Adams.  Now Dan Haggerty was a helluva  guy, I mean he lived with a bear!!  He chopped his own wood, caught his own food, loved the land and all, but he was missing a key piece.  I haven't met the bear yet that can hold a candle to Connie Sellecca.  Done deal, can't do it.  Given time I could see myself fully bearded ala Papa Hemingway, but I think I am a few years away from being able to pull it off.  I do spend a lot of time practicing the drinking part of being Papa Hemingway, or so say a lot of my friends.  So no full beard for me for now.

     I have no comment on Burnsides, but I do have a severe opinion on Goatee's and Van Dyke's.  I have lived 43 years and I have found only one single advantage of having this type of beard.  It certainly isn't for attracting women, or to look more intelligent.  The single use of this type of beard is to instantly distinguish yourself from your evil counterpart, if you are ever transported to an alternate universe by an ion surge during a space storm (Star Trek episode # 33 Mirror, Mirror).  That's the only one.  Trust me. 

     I hope you get the opportunity to see me when I can still pull off the beard, but as I said when I started, these whims are usually short-lived.  You may end up having to wait for the Hemingway phase of my life, or who knows, maybe I'll follow my old man's advice.  It's done well for me for so long now.

TUNE IN FOR NEXT WEEK'S BLOG:  "Youthful Adventures - Avoiding the Curfew"


Scott Carey, RGG said...

It has been several months since I succumbed to the swine flu. I was an early statistic to this bug that terrorized the world and pre-occupied the media for months. Eventually, I conquered that nasty bug, but for awhile I wasn't so sure. And as I lay there thinking about what I wanted to wear as the passers by paid their respects and offered their condolences to my family... I pictured them asking "Did he always have a beard"? That bug kicked my butt. And while I found the strength for an occasional shower, there was no way I would be trusting my hands with the triple-blades of death. For the better part of a week, what started as stubble quickly turned to forest. And as I ran my hands across my face, it went from harsh/scratchy to soft and comfortable. But no comments came from the peanut crowd. Each day, my enthusiasm was met with indifference. Upon feeling 'human' again, I decided it was time to return to the living and shave... which meant I needed to find my glasses. It was then that I discovered why the comments had been so few. SALT. It was salt. What had for years been only pepper and for awhile had been salt and pepper, was now just salt. Not particularly noticeable. Not particularly distinguishing. And not particularly welcome!

Ben Wickham said...

Billy this post couldn't have come at a better time for me. I have been recently throwing around the idea of growing out my beard and hair while I am in Morocco, just to see what would happen. And I think after reading your post, I have decided to go through with it. Decision isn't final yet, but thanks to you it is leaning much closer to a yes.

Bill said...

No better time Benny, and remember this kind of mistake (if you find it to be one)can be removed with a few strokes of a sharp blade. Send pics!!

Anonymous said...

From a girl's point of view...even if I am a sister/ No burdock pricks and yes the goatee is named for an obvious reason. I had a goat named Annie that would of won hands down for the salt and pepper goatee contest. Grizzly could be attractive if you were the last man on earth, or practical if you nest in a wooded, woodchuck, cold territory. Maybe for bug catching if you are thinking of buying a Harley. If you must I am inclined to agree with your chin strap, purely for selfish reasons though. We are related and may wind up being seen in public together or in a famiy pic that is indestructable and hanging in at least 10 other homes. Besides I bit the bullet, and have sacrificed painfully I might add, to disguise this upper lip testosterone genetic trait for you brother Bill.

Bill said...

Nice comments all. I just realized that I probably just posted my personal mug shot on Facebook. Tell me that if I was involved in a balloon hoax with my kid, or arrested for a drunk and disorderly, that, that isn't the picture everyone would put up.