Blog: My Shave-Free Summer/Fall, Day 150

(originally written 10/19/17)

You've heard the expression "Fear The Beard".

 

Tonight, October 19, after 150 days without shaving, I will at long last "Shear The Beard".

 

It would have been gone last week, but I liked the idea of ending my Shave-Free Summer/Fall on a nice, round number. Even though it means absolutely nothing at all.

 

The truth is, for most of its existence, I really wouldn't know it was there unless I ate foods coated in syrup or sauce. Once I got up in the morning and combed the thing, it'd cause no further worry until the next syrupy or saucy food to make contact with it. Ribs are on the docket for this weekend—I can't have any interference.

 

(Some of you may consider portions of the upcoming text gross. I apologize. Remember...you're choosing to read past this point.)

 

During meals, I find myself chewing bits of overhanging lip hair along with the food. Once you've begun, it's tougher to dislodge than the average person would think. (I wasn't willing to simply trim the beast; either it all stayed or it none stayed.)

 

Also, as I may have referenced in a previous blog, bits of gray have seeped in there as well. Initially I tried to deceive myself, saying things like "look at that, some milk is caked on my beard." Then—despite the above paragraph—I just trimmed the three or so grays out.

But they keep re-emerging, and I'm not ready to accept going gray just yet, not when I've got so much more immaturity to get out of my system.

 

Sometimes I wake up in the morning to the unpleasant scent of aged drool intercepted by the beard during my slumber. Just...no.

 

People have treated me so differently since growing this beast. More than ever, random people assume I'm muscular and ask me to help lift heavy things. (If only they knew just how much flab coated that muscle.) Other black men, perhaps seeing me as a fellow non-conformist, go out of their way to greet me—a stark contrast to the usual brusque ignoring I get from the brothas.

 

Even female suburban-types have made points of smiling and saying hi. I don't think I'll ever forget the Selena Gomez-clone in the red dress who did just that during one of my walks. It made no sense. She must have thought I was special-needs.

 

Some seem to think I'm a step away from lunacy, like the two security guards at my mom's hospital—each of whom, hours apart, fell over themselves keeping me "calm" when I quietly protested one of their silly rules. And once, I happened upon two teens in a lunchroom— they fell silent upon my entry...until one of them was mysteriously reminded of a "homeless man story" from earlier that week. Coincidence? Yeah, right.

 

So basically, I'm ready for life to return to normal. Carrying this beast around for five months was fun—before this year, the longest I'd gone without shaving was 40 or so days, back when my now-ex (Josie's mom) took a month-long trip to Samoa and I was too distraught to groom. Hard to believe love wrecked me so bad. But I'm not here to talk about the past.

 

I'm here to talk about tonight, October 19, the night I reclaim my long-obscured face. Let's go fire up the razor and hope it don't break.