I’ve had a beard for 9 years now. I grew it on a whim in the summer of 2003 when Heidi was at RWA in New York. Mostly, I did it just because I could and because shaving is a pain in the butt. I had a lot to learn about the maintenance of facial hair – it took an online friend at the time seeing a picture of it to tell me that I needed to shave my neck – and I went through a lot of permutations of how long and how wide the beard should be. I don’t think I ever approached “skinny beard” territory which is a relief since the “skinny beard” being the second most douchebaggy type of facial hair a guy can have. Naturally, the type of facial hair that occupies the number one spot is the “goatee with no mustache.” Don’t get me started.
Anyway, when Heidi left on her week long trip to Chicago to be part of the Romantic Times Booklover Convention in Chicago, I saw a perfect opportunity to shake things up. Kind of like the cheating husband who invites the mistress over a half hour after his wife leaves the house, I was shaving my beard off approximately a half hour after Heidi headed East this morning. It’s not that I was trying to get away with something, nor do I need her permission for what I do with the hair on my face (it is MY face, after all), but it just seemed like a good bookend since I grew the beard while she was out of town. It was only appropriate the opposite happen as well.
I did have a plan though. I have always kind of envied David Tennant’s sideburns. Secretly, I’ve always kind of harbored this wish that if only I could have his hair, then I would be as visually appealing as Mr. Tennant is. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but it didn’t keep me from envying the sideburns. It’s a youthful style that isn’t wildly age inappropriate like say, spiking my gray hair or getting a skater cut would be. I even shaved my beard and approximated the sideburns for a Halloween costume one year and when the party was all over, I found myself kind of liking them. Nonetheless, I grew my beard back because I’m a lazy bastard that doesn’t like to be bothered to shave in the morning and I couldn’t get over the look of my naked face. It was so jarring to me that I couldn’t wait to cover it back up with hair.
The deciding factor in taking the sideburn plunge was that I’m off work till next Monday. I figured I could give this a whirl and if I absolutely hated it, I could grow a full beard back just in time to go back to work. If you want to know the truth, I could decide on Friday that I hate it and have enough of a beard grown back by Monday that no one I work with would be the wiser.
So off the beard came. At least I remembered to change my razor blade. Even then, it pulled like a motherfucker. In the aftermath, the strangest thing was having no hair on my face. In the shower, I kept running my hand over my face amazed at how smooth it was.
Of course, I had to have photo documentation of this whole process, which I have posted below. I hesitated posting it here, but then I decided, what the hell? I am damn cute. You can see what I looked like pre-shave in the gravatar photo. so I’ll just post the after photos. Get ready for extreme sexiness.
I’m having a hard time figuring out which side has better realized sideburns and clearly, they’re going to have to get a little thicker. I’m not quite ready for prime time but since this week is decidedly not about prime time, I’m going with it.
To my great disappointment, Anna didn’t even notice my decided lack of facial hair when I picked her up from school today. I must have muttered something under my breath while looking into the mirror about how fat my face looked, because her response was the always helpful “Dad, your face isn’t that fat.” Thanks Anna. Thanks for your support.
For now, it stays. I’m kind of enjoying it and once I get past the initial shock of having to look at my shaven face all the time, I think I’ll be more than ready to embrace this change. But I’m the first one to admit that I really don’t look like myself – at least not the me that I’m used to from the last 9 years. Friends that have never known me without a beard will be most shocked, I think. But as I always say, it’s my face so I’ll do what I feel like.
Now watch, I’ll chicken out and grow it all back by Monday.