A hairy question
Deciding when and how much to trim from my beard has become something of a hairy question in the Wilson household.
I have had a beard for the better part of the past 30 years. There have been a handful of situations, such as in support of a coworker who was going through chemotherapy, that I went beardless, but I quickly grew it back.
This is primarily because my wife, Kim, is insistent that without my beard I look far too much like my brother, Mike and that she didn’t sign up to marry Mike.
For the record, the best my brother has ever been able to manage in facial hair is a rather thin and kind of creepy mustache that is just better for everyone when he shaves it off.
Kim said she would be fine with me shaving off my beard, if I want to start sleeping on the couch in the basement far from her. Shaving is not so good if I want her to come within 10 feet of me anytime in the future.
In fairness to Kim, I had a beard long before I first met her, so it was understandably disconcerting to her when I have changed things up dramatically. It would be like if I decided to start dying my hair jet black, or, heck, if I suddenly had the thick head of hair that I did when we met.
I think she would soon get over any of those cosmetic changes, but she draws a firm line at me looking too much like my brother.
Normally, I will at least try to keep my beard under control. However, with life and work getting in the way in the past few months, I have delayed trimming to the point where I am starting to look like a cross between those guys from Duck Dynasty and “Uncle Jesse” from “The Dukes of Hazzard” with the amount of white hairs in my beard making me look more like Uncle Jesse every day.
The down side of waiting as long as I have is that there is a kind of inertia when you have a longer beard. I would suspect it is the same with women who have always had long hair. They may complain to anyone who will listen about the care involved and the limited styling choices but are very hesitant to take the plunge and allow someone to cut it off.
I am getting that way with my beard. I wonder if I could pull off that hippy look of growing my beard and what remaining hair I have really long and start wearing both in braids. As far as midlife crisis changes go, it would be far more affordable than buying a sleek, shiny red sports car that gets speeding tickets just by standing still. At the same time, it might also be only slightly more laughter-inducing than watching me attempt to squeeze in or out of small car. My days of Dukes of Hazzard style sliding in out out of the windows ended about in the fourth grade.
Like with Robert Frost’s famous poem about which pathway to pick, I am faced with the choice of shaving or at least trimming my beard to appear less like a hillbilly. Or should I embrace the scruffiness and go all-in to grow out the beard to the point that if I come upon a bear in the woods, he will run away assuming I am just a bigger bear.
I suspect that I will end up caving and trimming my beard. If only to even things out and make me appear less like somebody who has lived alone in the deep woods for far too long. On the other hand, there seems to be a resurgence among those of us graced with being able to grow a decent-looking beard and I should be proud to champion the look, at least until all the snow melts and the days start getting warm and long. Perhaps then it will be time to pull out the clippers and give it a trim.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.