I have for years felt that the world’s biggest social deviant was the first guy to shave off all his facial hair.  Can you imagine what his friends must have thought when he walked up to the fire-pit like nothing was new?

When I first started growing a beard, I figured it would be less work than shaving, but I was wrong. At this moment, my facial-hair configuration suggests that I am operating at three different levels of he-needs-to-shave:

  • the lower-jaw beard part that I can’t decide how to trim, except that it can’t just grow all the way down my neckline because then it would connect with my chest hair, and we can’t have that;
  • the mustache part that I trim down to the #4 setting on my crappy beard trimmer whenever it starts to seem like it needs it; and
  • the “chops” area, which I keep theoretically shaved clean, though I only shave it clean about twice a week, maybe.

I’ve had this beard in some configuration since the Cumberland River topped its banks last year, and Nashville residents were urged to half their water consumption til the water treatment plant that failed was brought back online.  My only previous real beard was 8 years ago or so, and it was for a little while the topic of conversation with the check-out lady whose line I fell into on seemingly every visit to the Publix supermarket near Grassland.  This woman had some kind of accent that I never could place, and I never asked where she was from (likely Balkan?), as I was always more concerned with paying up and getting the hell out of there than hanging around in line to chit-chat.

Over the course of three of four visits with the then-new beard, she told me that she knew what I looked like without it, and she thought it was interesting that I was growing it.  I told her that I was just too lazy to shave every day since I had no real reason to do so, but that I had found it took almost as much work to keep a beard presentable as it took to keep one off altogether.  On one visit she finally told me that the reason she was so interested in my beard was that she came from a place where people would say men who wear beards are not to be trusted.  I told her that I came from a place where people who would say something like that to men who wear beards might find themselves in a fight.  She laughed.

*Mine is not depicted.