you know those old guys that for as long as you've known them they've always had a beard. it is part of their identity. yet, there was a time in their life when they didn't have one. when did they make the transition to being a guy who always has a beard? college? mid-twenties? 40s mid-life crisis? middles school? well sometime it has to be done and then it becomes a part of that man. let me just say right now that isn't what has happened to me.
though it is at least time for a an update on the beard--especially for those of you who don't get the privilege of seeing it regularly. when i first posted about it, i didn't actually think my beard would ever get close to those pictures. but it's quite long now, as you can see. i've trimmed up the mustache several times including today, but very little beyond that. so as best as i can remember it is pretty much untouched going on 5 months now. i've decided to keep it until i go to a french monastery in mid-march. beyond that, i don't think it will last too long. (sorry to disappoint all those guys out there who are living out their dreams of facial hair vicariously through me).
it's been quite an experience having a beard actually--especially one like this. perhaps i should save my reflections till i shave it off in case more come up (like being "randomly" selected for security checks at the airport), but i'm thinking of them now so i'm just going to go with it now.
1. i lot of people are very hot/cold on whether or not they like beards. usually the "cold" people are trying not to be overly harsh, but i can tell. and if you know them well enough they will just let you have it. one person said that "it looks like shit." ok that was my dad. haha. yeah i'm serious. one girl compared it to a woman letting her armpit hair grow out. that was a little harsh, but funny even if it was drastically untrue. a few girls admitted her fondness for a bearded man, though mostly trying not to apply it specifically to my beard. oh you coy ladies i see through you! and then there are the men who think it's awesome. though i find those are mostly guys who couldn't do it themselves.
2. i have experienced slight forms of profiling. beard profiling. never really knew that existed. but it does. probably the most extreme is when i go play pickup basketball at the rec. they see the beard and they think i'm some hippie that shouldn't receive the ball unless absolutely necessary and should be on the other team if at all possible. though once we start playing that tends to change--but not entirely. i'm sure it happens in other places but i haven't noticed it i don't think.
3. slightly related is how i've come to see that a beard is a very defining characteristic. i've often been referred to as "the guy with the beard," as if that was the main thing about me. outwardly much more so of course--as this is said to people who don't know me. i notice it most in those little brief interactions with strangers. they look at my beard before they look at my eyes. now that is really weird. especially when in the past i might see the situation as glance-flirting. you know what i'm talking about. you see an attractive person and you make eye contact and there is a gleam for a moment. depending on the setting you might exchange a few more glances but it really doesn't become anything more than that. but now they are just noticing the giant beard. there's no gleam in their eye, at least most of the time. is that a weird thing to talk about? tell me i'm not the only one who does that. or am i just a creeper? (that's not a setup for comments!)
it's been an interesting journey--this beard thing. yeah that's right, i called growing a beard a journey. it's a funny thing though, to really alter your identity and perception so much. i suppose maybe it's comparable to a girl chopping off all her hair. in some ways i feel like i'm ready for it to go. yet at the same time i am glad to still have it. why? well, i suppose that ties into why i grew it in the first place.
yeah it followed a break-up, and i can't say it wasn't related. a lot of guys grow beards as a form of grieving. well, maybe some. but more than that it just created a good time to be able to do this when i wouldn't care, and it was something i'd never really done before. or maybe that's just what i tell myself. i suppose it did and has reflected an inner state to some extent (though connected to many things). it corresponds to something in me, and it will go when that inner place is ready to change as well. or until i just get tired of the dang thing on my face. it's also becoming pretty trendy to have a beard, which is unfortunate timing. though i don't think i could pull off a hat of mine without it.
and yes i've seriously just way over-analyzed my beard. on my blog. narcissistic? perhaps. or just stupidly reflective? in that case look at who's writing here. i mean, come on!