Thursday, March 08, 2007

Operation barba rossa (e grigia)

I'm five days into growing a beard -- yesterday is usually the day when I decide that enough's enough, and I hack it off (to the great relief of my wife and my chin). This time, I pushed past the barrier, and I may go further: I'm on vacation, and I have another ten days of liberty.

Also, my parents are visiting; my dad, influenced by the months he and Mom spend each year in Alaska, has grown a beard. I'd never seen him in one before; he grows a good one, but it's still an adjustment. But Dad's presence and unabashed delight in his thick, wise-looking beard has pushed me past the four-day wall.

Why? Several reasons:
  • Growing facial hair is still novel to me at the age of forty-two
  • Because I can
  • It will set me apart: it's not a goatee
  • I still like to emulate my Dad
  • It's handy to stroke pensively, which could be a boon to my fledgling writing career
  • Independence - my wife doesn't like the idea

Why not? Several reasons:
  • Not all men look good in beards; naff appearance is a risk
  • They itch
  • A beard is more practical in the Pacific Northwest than it is in Australia
  • There's an awkward 'tween stage, what I think of as the Carol Brady stage for people trying to grow their hair long
  • It will probably make me look older, which doesn't have the appeal it did when I last grew one, at twenty-two
  • Ridicule - my wife doesn't like the idea

It's coming out with a much greater proportion of grey than I have in the rest of my hair; the five-day spikes are all copper and silver. My hair is either brown or auburn, depending on season and whether I'm in the sun. I've got a few grey hairs, but not a lot yet.

I'm fearful, but curious, that I'll end up with some sort of two-tone deal: Karl Marx or Michael McDonald, without the blowdried look.

Even blogging about it sounds like a commitment. But, either way, I'm guaranteed a new blog topic for at least one more post: there's either a progress report, or a Ship Abandoned message.

Also, there's a Great Beards in History discussion waiting to happen. For example: Greatest goatee in history? I'd have to vote for V.I. Lenin, although Colonel Sanders would be up there too.


tinasam said...

I demand Pics before I can sway your opinion.... otherwise I must vote "Its a vacation silly man, why worry with mundane tasks of shaving"...

Nichola said...

Face Fungus Law, Statute 3, paragraph 5, subsection 4aii states:

"All hairy facers should ensure their chin-carpets are accompanied by a Victorian Handlebar moustache, for twirling purposes. Evil cackling a must. Leering at pretty young fillies optional."

Alex Adams said...


I'd make a comment, but I'm laughing too hard.


Oh yes, and definitely pictures!

louisgodwin said...

Last time I tried, I made it to 10 days I think. But mine looked like crap. I've got too many bald spots in it.

Good luck with yours!

rosemerry said...

People in history with great Beard.

Charles Ingalls - Laura Ingalls Wilder's father.

Don't pay attention to the lousy tv show that just stole the name. Get Laura's biography. He had a full thick beard.

There was one point in time that his family thought he cut it off and they were all horrified. They gave a sigh of relief when they saw that he still had it.

Happy beard growing.