I can’t remember exactly when, somewhere in high school maybe, the desire for facial hair became a thing. On my summer breaks in college I usually avoided shaving. But at most that was five weeks.
I attended a military academy, and was not allowed to have facial hair in uniform. The summer between my junior and senior year in college I had the makings of a decent beard. It was auburn, but it was coming in uniformly and full. After I graduated, I had a full two months off before I had to report for duty. I again grew an almost beard. And that was really the last time for thirty-two years.
Hate is a strong word. Probably too strong for how I feel about shaving. It annoys me. So, when I was considering retiring for a new job, one of the first things I asked my prospective new boss was would I be able to grow a beard? I’m not sure if he had said no that I would have put off retiring for two more years, but it was a factor in my decision calculus.
I started the beard the day after my retirement from military service. I can’t explain to you how excited I was to actually grow a real beard. I went online and looked up different beard styles and how to tend to it properly. I bought a beard brush and comb, beard oil and shampoo. I took meticulous care in the early stages. I bought a good trimmer, that I probably wouldn’t need for months.
One thing I hadn’t counted on was the color. It was about 95% white. Not even the nice silvery grey color you often see, but effing white. But I remained undaunted. I grew it for months without trimming it. It came in thick and even.
Then I began to shape it a little, to make it look nice. I promised my wife I would keep it neat. She was not a fan. She really does not like kissing me with facial hair. I am her porcupine now. “Prickles!” she says whenever I kiss her. And my mother hated it as well.
Just when I got it to a point I thought I would keep it, it began to annoy me. People started making comments about how much I resembled Santa Claus. I decided to trim it back a little, then a little more, then too far and had to shave the entire thing off.
I am now happy with the way I have it. The goatee works for me. Down the road in a few years I might be ready to grow it longer again. I’m not ready to carry the Santa mantel just yet. I only shave the sides twice a week and the head once a week. My wife hsn’t been complaining, God bless her.
How do you feel about facial hair?