Beard Weird

beardsBetween the new season of Duck Dynasty starting and the chilling weather, it’s no wonder every other guy I see is sporting full face fuzz.

A big burly beard does save from having to wear a scarf and probably even acts as a natural filter for the toxic inversion air around here.

I don’t blame guys for wanting to jump on the beard bandwagon.

It’s definitely been lucrative for Si and sons, so why not grow your own jaw hedge to snag some green, right? Though the green stuff I see snagged in those tangles usually isn’t monetary.

The Duck Dynasty dudes bring home the buco bacon, which is the only reason I can think why their pretty wives tolerate the bushman look.

I know where this chin chia trend comes from.

I get it guys.

I walk through the men’s clothing department and see the endless racks of same old same old polo shirts, plaid button downs and tepid tees season after season, year after year. Not just any guy can go hipster and keep their day job, so the only thing left for most men to change up their look occasionally is to experiment with their birthright ability to grow facial hair.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to facial hair on men I’m not married to.

Some guys look really good in their beards and ‘staches, and if their sweeties don’t mind smooching a scrub brush, then go for it.

My dad, whom I’ve never seen with a beard before, recently grew himself a granddaddy goatee. I think as his ability to grow hair on top of his head diminishes he feels the need to let it sprout freely from wherever else it will on his noggin.

My mom shares my aversion to facial hair on marital partners and has pleaded with Dad to shave it off.

She says, “I keep asking him why he wants to cover up his good looks with a beard?”

Well played, Mom. Stroking the male ego is powerful.

But then she turned to me for reinforcement, “What do you think?”

Uh oh.

The truth is I thought the beard looked pretty cool on Dad. I hated to say it and betray my mommy, but the well-groomed silver goatee was quite distinguished looking. It’s a much better old man look than comb-over and since I don’t have to kiss Dad other than on the cheek, I was diggin’ the beard.

I confessed, “I cannot tell a lie. I like the beard.”

When I said it, I could tell my mother wanted to send me to my room. My dad wanted to buy me the car he never did when I was a teenager. He’d just received validation from the child who mocked his style choices mercilessly during her teenage years.

The man permed his hair into a full fro in the 80s when he was over forty years old. Can you blame me?

With my approval I’d created a rift between me and my mother, and my father and my mother. I don’t know if George Washington’s policy is all it’s chopped up to be.

It was Mom’s birthday this week and, though I didn’t know if we were talking or not, I called to wish her a happy birthday. She answered very cheerfully and we talked jovially for several minutes with no mention of facial hair. She must have forgiven me, or had a senior moment and forgotten she was mad at me. Either way, all seemed well. I asked her if she had a nice birthday.

She answered, “The best!”

“The best? Wow! That’s quite a statement coming from someone who’s had well over sixty birthdays.”

“Well, your dad gave me a really nice card.”

If the best birthday my mother’s ever had in 60+ years is a really nice card, then we’ve seriously failed her as a family.

“What did the card say?” I hoped it was a card from Dad that said he’d purchased a winning MegaMillions lottery ticket in her name.

“It’s not what it said, it’s what was inside.” Mom explained.

“Really?” Maybe it really was a winning lotto ticket! “What was in it?”

“A baggie of gray hair,” she said too excitedly.

Okay, we really have failed Mom, and we probably need to have her see a doctor very soon.

Meanwhile, I tried to play along, “Uhh . . . that’s great, Mom. Not everyone can say they have some hair . . . from the head of Queen Elizabeth!” It’s the best I could come up with under pressure.

“No, no! It’s your dad’s beard. He shaved it off for me as a birthday present!”

“Oh! That makes much more sense!” If a little creepy that he’d actually bag it and give it to her, but sweet.

She went on about how much she hated that beard and how every time she looked at Dad she hardly recognized him, or wanted to. She said she couldn’t believe Dad would actually shave it off though because he loved it, especially since I’d validated it.

I knew it would come up at some point.

But good ol’ Dad shaved it off for her.

Since he can’t compensate with millions of dollars like the Robertson clan, he had to come clean-shaven. I’m guessing the beard-be-gone had less to do with Dad making Mom happy on her birthday, and more to do with Mom making Dad happy on occasion.

If my mother is anything like me, facial hair overgrowth has a tendency to create an affection drought.

Sometimes the nuances of marriage can be very hairy.

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