Wednesday, August 21, 2013



To run a razor over your face is part of growing up into manhood. From the preteen years, hair started poking out from all sorts of places. Luckily for guys, it was acceptable except for the face.
Now beards have been historic. Just look at all the faces on your money. Great figures like Abraham Lincoln or Moses had beards.
But by the mid-50’s it was unacceptable for a man to have a beard. A few professors and scholarly types could be bearded for then it was a sigh of intelligence, but anyone else was classified a “bum”.
Maybe it was the technology that removed the sigma of men having to go to the barbershop to a straight razor strapped and then pressed to the face to provide the appearance of what will not be tomorrow. Beards just keep coming back.
An entire industry has grown around cutting off the stubble on men’s faces. Razors of every description have been invented to relieve the male species of facial hair. Multiple blades and electricity brought a variety of instruments to crop one’s face of those pesky hairs.
It is a wonderful marketing strategy for tomorrow those hairs will start growing back out. Like haircuts, it is an on-going industry lobbied by fashion. 
In the mid-twentieth century a rebellion was taking place. College age kids were trying to change the world or at least it’s politics and they needed a symbol to unite them. What better than a beard?
Sorry girls, but this was a guy thing. Guys at the time became very hairy. Long hair matched them to what the ladies were wearing and was accustomed to, but now those guys started getting hairy on their faces.
Beards were forgotten due to the new slick image of the modern man with his slick haircut, double weave suit, silk tie, and fancy Italian shoes, but these kids wanted to oppose all of that. They (we) wanted to strike out against the norm, so we started growing hair on our faces. 
What stood out from the crowd became a badge of courage. It was easy to become acquainted with someone else wearing a tie-dye t-shirt, long hair, beads and a beard.  A beard on another guy connected on music and politics and religion and hobbies. No one did dope without a beard. 
But even back in the day, us guys had to get jobs. Unless we wanted to keep up the revolutionary banner and sleep under a bridge, we had to “conform” to the work place requirements. Ties, button down shirts, suits and haircuts but what about the beard? 
When I first started working, I had a moustache and that didn’t seem to bother the personal requirements. I had my hair trimmed and put on a tie. The other folks were fairly casual where I worked, so I kept a low profile and started letting it grow. 
Instead of one of those ZZ Top or Duck Dynasty beards, I shaved it down to a soul patch and a goatee. That appearance seemed to be acceptable. Later my hair started getting longer and no one minded. And the beard started getting hairier and no one minded. Perhaps it was because I was in a creative position or by then the familiarly of beard was becoming acceptable again. 
When I turned 30, I wanted to make do something different so I shaved. Haircut, suit and clean shaving face were the big change. It was a big change, but it didn’t last long.
As you can tell, I don’t like haircuts or shaving or even cutting grass because it only put off the inevitable. They just keep on growing. Now I do shave (somewhat) when it starts getting too hot or too scratchy, but it is more of a trim and it has been at least 40 years from when the beard turned from dark brown to white. One wife saw my face, the other never did.

So now that I’m about to get really, really old and go on Medicare, I may or at least at this point intend to shave on my birthday. I think that would just be a hoot. I will even get a haircut, but not just a haircut but also a full shave. The results would be a complete naked face. Shake it up baby.
I have the tools of the trade to prepare my chin, but I will have to go to the professionals to do my head. About four or five years ago I went to a shop at the mall and said, “Cut it off.” She gave me a fairly contemporary style with a pile of hair on the floor. This time I don’t know if they could handle it. 
It will also be time to get a new identification card, so the changed look will keep the authorities guessing. Oh well, it will grow back.

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