“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” – Orson Welles
It was about spontaneity. One wakes up and asks, “Why am I still bothering with this?”
“This” being my beard; I had decided I’d had enough of it. It had been a nice five-year run, arguably my longest sustained period in having facial hair. I simply woke up one morning, took a quick glance at myself in the mirror, and decided that it was time to wish that look a speedy bon voyage. Call it an internal siren of self-awareness.
Beards are ostensibly about lower maintenance. But in fact I found it to be the opposite: cleaning, shampooing, brushing, trimming, etc. After a while it got old. I not only was tired of having to do all that work, I was also bored of the overall look. It’s time to mix it up again.
Gorgeous is not happy with this decision. She liked the beard.
I knew that an open process meant that she’d weigh in on the side of keeping it, and I didn’t want to have that discussion. My only nod to liberal democracy was a verbal notification ahead of time of intent; and I then strong-armed by following it up as a fait accompli. Pluralism can be complicated. So are spousal pouts, which I’m sometimes terrible at reconciling. Add marriage to that list of complicated things too.
Sorry, but this is my beard; my face. My decision. Let’s not split hairs over it.
Admittedly, this is also not exactly earth shattering stuff to share with the world. The UK is barreling towards Brexit, impeachment proceedings here are about to switch over to a Senate trial, etc. So it wouldn’t be surprising that you, dear reader, might think “whisker piffle” such as this trivializes the collective conscience. To that, though, I respond with a hearty “Balderdash!”
Style is always a factor, whether we wish to acknowledge it or not. Could the convincing results of the recent British elections have happened without Boris Johnson’s scruffy dome? I think not. Brexit is messy and fraught with all kinds of potential perils. Still, the electorate took one look at this guy and grudgingly decided to cast their lot with him. It was his hair that decided the matter once and for all. Piffle indeed.
And, of course, then there’s our own own leader, with that addiction of his to Sudden Tan. Um, yeah…
Oh, never mind. Let’s just let it rest with Boris. Quite a mane on that boy, eh?
When I retired in 2014, my first move was to shave off all of my hair and go with a classic buzz cut. I was telegraphing to one and all that employment rules no longer applied to me. Take those monthly activity reports, expenditure summaries, sartorial expectations, etc., and shove ’em where the sun don’t shine. In fact, I was moving to the sun, baby.
Of course, I had no idea at the time that I was sportin’ a serious Harvey Weinstein mug. It’s rather frightening now in hindsight, and thankfully that particular look didn’t last for long.
What I’m telegraphing now with a beardless persona is open to interpretation. Voting precinct captain? Historical society volunteer? Paul’s grandfather? Honestly, if I can just avoid an incoming “Okay, Boomer” retort for the next few years, I’ll consider everything to be a successful safe passage.
As far as Gorgeous’ complaint goes, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I honestly have no idea what that phrase literally means, but it seems like the kind of thing a boomer might say. It was literally only last week that my fair maiden cut off quite a bit of her hair. I call this hair war even then.
So, it’s back to shaving cream and double-edged razors for this boy. When I grew the beard after retirement, it was a relief not having to shave every morning. Now it all feels lighter and freer again. Perhaps it’s all about changing that keeps the spirit fresh.
Until next time…