Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The Permanent Playoff Beard
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
-- Teddy Roosevelt
In high school I was required to shave every day, under penalty of hepatitus. (If you came to school muzzled, you were given a demerit and sent to the washroom in Father Burkhart’s office to shave with a dull community bic and a bar of soap. Catholic education at its best).
I spent my college career in a goatee. Now that I’m a husband and parent, it’s a full beard. Though I should qualify full as meaning it connects across my face. Its fullness as relating to thickness is a half step above scraggly. (In my beard’s defense, it did get me a modeling gig for hats.com). I feel that it suits me. At least right now. Before it’s all said and done, I’m sure I’ll go through a solo mustache phase and a Grizzly Adams period. Probably ending full circle as a clean shaven grandpa. That’s what my dad has done.
The current facial fancy can best be described as a permanent playoff beard. Not really styled, but somewhat defined. It’s about 4-6 weeks of growth, trimmed biweekly and uniformly. The main battle is with the borders on the upper cheek and neck. But it’s essence is a statement of beardly distinction. It says, I’m not a pretty boy with George Michael stubble or a trendy hair sculpture, nor am I a bushy bearded lumberjack. I have control over this thing, but I allow it to be itself. Like a dog on a retractable collar, free... to an extent.
Traditional thinking claims that a man with a beard is hiding something. These days, I think a clean shaven man without occupational restrictions is hiding the fact that he can’t grow a beard. Just like a man with a shaved head isn’t fooling anyone. I’m inclined to embrace my folliclular distinction. Sure I’m losing my hair, sure my beard is a little patchy, wanna make something of it. I’ve got plenty of hair on my chest. Do you, Suzy?