Like Dante Hicks, I have realised that sometimes it's okay to go back to where you were, or to stay in the same place. Except my change of life (or return back to life the way it was before it changed to the way it used to be up until about twenty minutes ago) involves a beard and not any sort of life-choice, like whether or not to marry Mrs. Kevin Smith or your overly friendly boss.
You see, the day I got out of high school, I started a lot of things. One of those things was to enter onto the road of Facial Hair Ownership. I carefully weighed all the options, from the ultra-glamourous Vincent Price pencil-thin moustache all the way to a Dan Haggerty broom (pre-heroine fire,) and I ended up with a sort of full Dutch Masters moustache and goatee combo which did a few things for me, or so I thought:
- made me look diabolical
- hid my baby-round chin
- attracted girls who like strange men
- helped keep my chin warm in winter
- made me stand out from the crowd of beard guys
- made me look like a Dutch Master
- gave me super-human powers
Well, it did two of the six. I'll leave it up to you to decide which. It'll be more fun for you and less depressing for me if I didn't reveal the truth.
So I wore that beard since 1985, with only one and a half years off (pun intended) while I served a sentence in Heck (aka Sutherland's Lumber.) And for those of you who care enough to follow this blog on a monthly or thereabouts basis, you might recall me saying something about never shaving on weekends, and deciding that since the Perdido Key vacation was, in essence, a nine day weekend I would use the time constructively, ie in constructing a full beard.
Now what I did not mention above was that when I was still a wee bairn and was still using my beard training wheels I tried a full beard. My father would grow one every winter for deer hunting season, on the grounds that it:
- made him look diabolical
- attracted deer who liked strange men
- helped keep his chin warm in winter
- was abominable to my mother
Well, at least two of those are true. My mom hated it, and it kept his face warm, as well as keeping his bare cheeks from startling deer. My father was nut-brown from the sun so I don't know how a deer could have mistaken his cheeks for anything other than part of a tree trunk, but he was the hunter, not me.
When his beard grew in, it did so in about two days, and was instantly as thick and luxurious as a racoon coat. His hair was always military-short, and salt-and-pepper grey, and his beard would grow in the most handsome iron-grey colour, with white and black shot all through it. He's keep it combed neatly, and trimmed it regularly.
So of course, I had to aim for that lofty goal. But unfortunately, my mother's French bare-faced genes hit me pretty hard, and while I could manage a pretty impressive set of muttonchop sideburns and a fine grown of chin hair my cheeks always failed miserably to fill out. So, abandoning hope, I went with the chin-whiskers.
Years passed. Florida came and imbued me with it's sunshine powers, and I launched out on the Full Beard Crusade. Things did well for a while, the hair ensued, and my hirsute desires were fulfilled--a passable full beard. Granted a little thin over the middle jawbone, but with time and careful training I assured myself I could make it work.
And to be quite frank? I got tired of it. Too much work, honestly. I thought for sure that having a full beard would cut down on shaving time, but no, it only increased it, because I had more, careful trimming to do. Scissoring was a nightmare, because there was so darn much of it. And still, the middle was thin, so I looked like I had grown a huge set of sideburns to go with my goatee and moustache, and had gotten some chocolate milk or dirt or something down my jawbones.
So this afternoon, after careful examination and much soul-searching, and asking myself WWDHD* I went ahead and trimmed the extra foliage off, revealing my old, tried-and-true, diabolical, strange woman attracting self. Smooth cheeked, short sideburned, and ginger and grey chinny-chin-chin. And I'm cool with that. I like my setup the way it is (again,) and I shan't get any more strange looks from people who were accustomed to me being clean-cheeked, but who were too ashamed to ask me if I had grown a beard or if I had been wallowing in a bowl of chocolate pudding powder and forgotten to wash.
So. Welcome back, goatee. Hello again, moustache. Next month? Perhaps I'll just shave off the goatee and start on a pair of Daliesque handlebar mousatches. How exciting!
* What Would Dante Hicks Do?