Monday, June 12, 2006

Smooth of face, empty of heart

So I did it. It's gone. My birthday seemed like a good time for a new look and a fresh start, and after spending one last night rubbing my fingers through it and saying my proper goodbyes in the morning, I shaved off my beard.

It's something I told myself I'd do as soon as the weather got warm. Unfortunately for those I talk with on the phone regularly, I told them about it, too. Frequently.

"I don't know; I'm getting attached to it. I look at pictures of myself without a beard now, and think they look funny. Maybe I won't do it. But I should. I won't be able to stand that thing when it's 90 and humid. Plus, it's looking sort of scuzzy. And it's starting to grow long under my chin, which itches like hell. Maybe I could go with a goatee. That seems like a nice compromise. Or just a mustache. I could pull off the porn star look. At least from the neck up. No, I shouldn't have said that. You're right. What about a Fu Manchu? No? Hey, you know what I should do? I should grow mutton chops! I could rock the chops like Wolverine! You think I'd look good with those?"

My sister was so bored from me talking about it that she hung up on me. My own flesh and blood - for whom I've always been available in moments of emotional and existential crisis - yawned long and loud, and got off the phone during a conversation about a month ago. She had all she could stands, and could stands no more.

Or she was sleepy because she was on her period. I'm not sure. See if I help her the next time she has dating problems. Oh, and I lied, Lil' Sis - that t-shirt you bought while you were home doesn't look good on you.

It probably would've been okay if I'd stopped with the beard. But the longer hair that went so well with the beard - the lush, flowing ebony mane that I thought made me look like Pacino in Serpico - didn't work without it. I looked like Meat Loaf. Or a butch Rosie O'Donnell. So I decided it was all coming off. Well, not all. I'm not bald. But I do look much like the picture of Sluggo up there with my profile.

And now I'm beginning to wonder if I made a huge mistake. I stared at myself in the mirror for a long time (even longer than I usually do) after my beard was gone. I almost didn't recognize the face looking back at me. Where was the ruggedly handsome sex bomb? Were those cheeks always underneath that hair? Are those... jowls developing? It was a face I didn't really remember. And I'd only had the beard for six months. I thought I looked sad, but maybe that was just lamentation for my lost facial hair. Or maybe the lower half of my face just needed a little sun.

Anyway, I can grow it all back. And plan to. Because I think I looked damn sexy. Here's hoping that a blog entry about the beard wasn't as boring to read as hearing about it over the phone apparently was.

And now, the blog equivalent of a montage, set to music, for an old friend whom I hope to see again someday soon. My beard's greatest hits. If you browse through these, sing some James Blunt to yourself while you're reading. It helps. Actually, no it doesn't. I want to stick knitting needles in my ears now.

▪▪ "Getting Fuzzy?"

▪▪ "Hey man, what's on your face?"

▪▪ "S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y! Night!"

▪▪ "B For Beard-etta!"