Perhaps it’s because I’ve made a job change recently. Maybe it’s because I craved some other change. Possibly, it’s because I’m an idiot, but I’ve done something that I swore I never would attempt. I’m growing facial hair. A small beard to be specific. Possibly, too small.
The men in my family have never been a terribly hairy lot. Mercifully, most seem to have held on to the growth on the top of their heads but as far as actual hairiness goes, we’re a pretty smooth skinned bunch. In my youth, my Dad did have a mustache when that was the law, apparently, but other than that, all the men I’m related to by blood have been smooth faced. When it comes to lack of facial whiskers in the family though, I am the zenith. I had a fair shot of bucking the trend with the genes supplied to me by my Mom. The French, the English and especially and specifically, the Sicilian gave me an even shot at a lifetime of shaving and you’d think the Sicilian would be the trump card when it came to doling out the facial hair, but Great Grandpa Giovanni’s people didn’t count on one thing. The perfect foil for their Mediterranean fuzziness.
North American Indian.
The American Indian is naturally a pretty scruffless individual, though there certainly are exceptions. A friend of mine who is obviously closer to our mutual deerskin clad family ancestry than I am, sports a full and perfectly reasonable goatee and ‘stash. This is more than I could ever aspire to. When I was a very young man and just entering the fun filled pit of despair that the call puberty, I did not get the choice whether to grow or shave any appearing face fuzzidge. My chin and lip stayed just as smooth as always and remained so for many years.
When I moved on to college life, I was the butt of much teasing and god natured ribbing about the lack of any shaving equipment in my ditty bag. In fact, it was far more reasonable to follow the practice of my native heritage and simply pluck out the few hairs that dared to show themselves. This way they tended to be gone for longer than if I shaved them and since they were so scarce, lathering up and dragging a razor over my face seemed like a titanic waste of time just to whack off the dozen or so whiskers. As the years went by, the teasing from my dorm mates changed from, “You still don’t shave?” to a more jealous, “You mean you still don’t HAVE to shave?” Apparently, the shine had worn off the morning ritual for them and now it was just one thing they had to do each morning that I got to skip. Most of the guys had noticeable facial hair and needed to attend to it daily, lest they look scruffy. One friend of mine, Kirk, was a facial ape man. More so, when I think of it, since apes really don’t sport much in the way of beards and mustaches. Kirk’s body must have put at least ten percent of its energy into producing hair. By noon, Kirk had a five o’clock shadow. By evening, he looked like a red headed hobo. Kirk had become resigned to this and took the only enjoyment out of it he could and changed his look about twice a week. Monday, he’s be clean, by Wednesday, it would be a handlebar mustache and sideburns. Friday, he would have gone for the full beard and on Sunday, he’d appear with a bright red Captain Ahab.
I can only imagine how much he spent in razor blades. Unlike Kirk, I graduated school with a smooth and unshaven face and remained that way for a long, long time. He graduated too… just hairier.
As time went by, more and more whiskers seemed to emerge. Unfortunately for me, they didn’t seem to have any sort of a plan as to where they would call home. One side of my chin started to fill in about the time I turned twenty-five. My upper lip needed razor attention too, although the middle bit under my nose remained smooth and hairless. Likewise, the sad little patches on my upper lip have never met the colony on my chin witch to this day only travels down one side of my neck. My chin, at least is covered completely. Well, almost. I had to give up plucking the hairs when the process became too painful and goofy. I had enough to warrant buying a razor now and have been using it daily ever since.
A few months ago, I sold my business and changed my life to one of child watching and house fixing and with this change has come a disruption in my routine. Where I used to get up, bathe, shower, dress and head out the door to work, I now have a much more haphazard morning than I’m used to. The day usually starts with Short Stack hopping into bed with us, followed by a frenzy of breakfast making, clothes getting and walking out little man to pre-school. By the time I’m home again, Lulu Belle is falling asleep on my back and needs to take a nap. I’ll get her down and then dive into some quiet project. The shower gets put off until later. What this has done is given me a closer look at my face with stubble, and you know what? I think I have enough to grow something contiguous!
So, last week, I stopped shaving my chin. The upper lip had to be done, lest I look like a fifteen year old with “My First Mustache™” but the rest is growing in pretty well. Here I am, in the middle of my life and only now do I have enough facial stubblery to have a shot at growing something that could pass for “normal looking.” To be fair, it’s actually pretty early on to call it “normal looking” but hope springs eternal. It’s one of the last rites of passage into the adult, male word. What I have found out is that it’s more time consuming to carefully shave around my little patch of whiskers that it was to quickly zip it off and also I can no longer shave in the shower since a mirror is now needed. I’ll have to see if having a small beard can beat out my inherent laziness. In the mean time, I’ll let it get longer and try to assess if it looks good or like I dribbled food down my chin.
Action Girl says she likes it, but no one else has said anything yet.
I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Filed under: family, Guys, home, Humor, Ruminating, Stupidity, What the..?, Writing | Tagged: american indian, bad mustache, beard, college, facial hair, growing up, mustache, no shaving, razor, shaving, Sicilian | 8 Comments »