I was surprised today, at the reaction I got at work my first day back.
It wasn't that noone missed me, because it was obvious that I was missed. I work with a lot of very nice, very expressive people (well, not all of them, but enough to count) and they let their feelings about my return be known.
What threw me is that nobody said anything about my new beard.
You see, I rarely shave on weekends. I just don't like it particularly. And back in 1985, May to be more precise, the day after I graduated high school to be even more precise, I started growing my hair and my beard. A week later I realised that right then I would never be a full beard guy, because mine simply refused to be full. But, I had enough growth to manage a nice goatee and moustache, which does a lot toward covering up and sharpening what I feel is a rather soft chin.
I've shaved my goatee off once since then, for a job that I later learned to hate with a passion. So, since 1985 I've had a goatee and moustache non-stop except for a year and a half haitus. My long hair went the way of all good things after about 14 or so years, but the beard is still here.
The thing is, I decided that since I was already changing myself so radically (sandals wearing, cargo shorts owning, swimming,) that I would go ahead and make another stab at growing a full beard. And thus far I've succeeded, I think. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not looking like Grizzly Adams or anything just yet, but I've got enough growth over the last week that I don't feel ashamed to be seen in public. But the place where people most know me, my job, nobody said anything.
VW told me I looked like I hadn't shaved in a week when I prompted her by asking what she thought, but that was as far as that went.
So now, I'm curious. You see, I'm still up in the air about it. Beards by themselves are rare enough that the man who wears one in today's society is already a little bit of an outsider. A goatee and moustache is further proof that the wearer is something a bit more radical than the clean-shaven prep boy in his Ralph Lauren suit, so going to the full beard is, to me, something of a step backwards. But, I've wondered for a while about it, so I'm going to continue in this vein for another week or so, and then we'll take a vote on it, if you guy's like.
Should be interesting.