18 February 2010

Can I Be a Part of the Rebel Alliance Without Being a Traitor?

At the age of 44, I have crossed the lines and become a rebel. I have been growing a beard.

While this does not make me a bomb-throwing Bolshevik, in the matrix in which I am embedded some may view it at best as slightly odd, at worst somewhat suspect. I hadn't set out to grow a beard, it just crept up on me. During this recent spate of snowverkill weather I was so busy during the Blizzard of '10, trying to keep my daughter entertained, my sanity intact and my car from being completely buried under snow and ice. Between all those activities I was "plumb wrung out" as we used to say back in the 'hood.

Typically I would have shaved Sunday night to crop a weekend worth of stubble. I was tired, see. So tired I could barely keep my eyes open if I stopped to sit still for any length of time. By bedtime my arms and back were so sore that I felt no desire to lift them. So no shaving for me.

Then I had my daughter for an extra day (which was nice) which wore me out even further (which was not so nice). So again, no to the shaving. Subsequent to that...there was more snow. I was shoveling again and the office was closed for two days. With only me in the apartment and no agenda, no one to look pretty for, what was the point of shaving? Nyet to the razor, says me! Then the next weekend rolled around, and I typically don't shave anyway, so there was zero reason and incentive to get to it.

Which led me to thinking: was there ever really a reason for me to be shaving every single flippin' day since I graduated from college? Even in college I rarely went more than one or two days* without the razor routine. Truth be known, when I first started growing whiskers way back when...it didn't look good. At all. With a little bit of stubble, I always had this faint feeling I looked like a well-heeled derelict. Plus it seemed some sort of unspoken requirement that I be clean shaven, especially after I joined the working world. So I did it dutifully, day after day, month after month, year after year...

Until now. Now I wonder why I did it all that time. With or without a five o'clock shadow, a soul patch, goatee or full-blown crazy-hermit-down-to-the-waist style beard, whatever...I am the same person. The same person, that is, without the resentment that springs from doing something sort of useful but sort of pointless at the same time, just because other people think you should do it. 

Why is this significant? I hear you muttering to yourselves. And I wonder that as well. Perhaps because, at the age of 44, for the first time in my life ever, the beard grows from purpose and not exists due to laziness. That is correct, ladies and gentlemen: I have never grown a Beard. Seems odd for a male my age to have not do so before now.

Now I'm letting it go from curiosity. Honestly, it does not look so bad. Kinda 'friendly roguish', I think. Well, maybe it looks more like those old school G.I. 'Action Figures' like I used to have as a boy, the ones with the perpetual 'fiver' on those chiseled plastic cheeks. Be that as it may, I'll probably let it go through the weekend, see what happens.

I'm a rebel that way. Viva la Beard-olucion!

*There was a 22-day stretch one summer, while home from school, that I let the whiskers grow. But that wasn't from vanity or a feeble attempt at seeming more masculine. I was just a lazy sod with a summer job painting windows and cutting grass.


  1. Well ... I think I like the idea of your little experiment, as long as we don't go overboard and head out to the woods all Unibomber style!

    I think many a man can style and profile a beard, so good luck widdat!

  2. Sounds like a worthy endeavor... Funny how a snowstorm can shake up routines in the most unexpected places.

  3. Welcome to my world. Well, it isn't mine exactly (not yet but plans are underway to make it so). I first let my beard grow at the tender age of 23 when I and the USN parted ways on an amiable basis. Oooh, I like that line and cannot let it go to waste. Therefore, I will steal your theme, sort of, and blog about my own beardization and the journey I have taken with it. If you don't mind, that is.

  4. A beard is an excellent fashion statement, plus it will keep your chin warm in snowy weather! And if you let it get long enough, it can be a source of sustenance as it hides crumbs from previous meals.....

  5. There is no harm at all with this collection of hair Irish.
    I could perhaps only see problems occurring if you go down the full Grizzly Adams look, adopt a small bear....and then follow his outback lifestyle!!

  6. Let it grow, brother!

    I'm not allowed to.

  7. If it gets really cold you can go out and let little icicles freeze on your whiskers, after which you can wander around terrifying your neighbours. Now that's entertainment.

  8. My policy for the decade following my 17th birthday was "let it go". Then after The Missus reformed me I got in the habit of knocking things down once a month (need to or not). And by knock down I mean spend three minutes with the trimmer. If you rock at what you do, nobody will care how you wear your whiskers.

  9. I say go for it. Some men are sexy with a beard. As long as it's trim and not looking like a bird's nest that you keep snacks for later in. (Not to give you any ideas...)

  10. Shaving is a pain in the neck, and I always cut myself just below that middle thing of my nose; and then there's always that gash just below the left cheekbone (I'm right handed). I gave up the beard, 'cause I like eating sloppy foods, just don't like wearing it. Still, I don't shave; I just trim it to stubble, and that's my face. I cut my hair only so my hats will fit. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a beard like Billy Gibbons.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...