Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

The temperature here in Phoenix is rising – 34C yesterday again. The swamp-cooler is going full blast. An ice-cream truck has just gone past, chimes blaring – or maybe these mobile phone rings are really getting out of control. The shorts have been broken out, and all black T-shirts will shortly be put at the back of the closet. What better time to start growing a beard?

Er, or perhaps not. The experiment with facial hair has officially ended, and I have returned to my usual, moderately clean-shaven self. It all began out of sheer laziness, really, simply by not bothering to shave at all. I’ve done this before, but never for long enough to make much of a difference. Most of my facial hair is blond, so it took about a week’s concerted razor avoidance before anyone at all noticed, usually with a quizzical “Didn’t you shave this morning?”.

The sole exception to this is my top lip which, for some reason or other, is dark. So, to actually reach proper bearded status, I had to go through the “slug lurking above my mouth” phase, which was so horrific I never managed it before. But now, being self-employed and working from home, I no longer have to bear the sarcastic slings and arrows of outrageous co-workers – just the stepkids Robert and Emily, and as usual, I just ignore them…

The only person whose opinion really mattered was Chris, my beloved. She was unconcerned by it all, despite her own relentless pursuit of smoothness which goes far beyond mine – need I say any more than “wax” here? – and stood by me through the aforementioned slug stage, till my actual beard became visible to the naked eye. Despite commenting that the photo at left looks like Tom Green, she thought it made me look “mature”, which I felt kinda ambivalent about, since this might be a polite way of saying “old”. Besides, I revel in my immaturity…

There were also more practical problems to be faced. The basic point of not shaving was to save time and effort, but short of letting it all go, I still had to tame the fiddly bits on my cheeks and neck. Given I shave in the shower, without the benefit of my contact lenses or a mirror, it was really one of those disasters waiting to happen. It was surely only a matter of time before a careless slice destroyed the work in progress, and forced me to begin again from scratch.

There was also the problem of food. I really don’t know how bearded people manage to avoid leaving half their portion entangled below their mouths. Maybe this is why there are so many bearded real ale enthusiasts – it’s the only form of nourishment they are physically able to consume. Curry, pasta, virtually all my favourite foods seemed to pose insufferable difficulties, and we’ll draw a veil over the whole Cinnamon Bun Incident, if you don’t mind.

In the end, it was all too much of a cross to bear, and though she professed neutrality, if the truth be told, I think Chris secretly preferred the smoother me. So it came off, and I’m now back to my normal range, between clean-shaven and medium stubbly. And me, I’m looking forward to a LARGE bowl of pasta.