As some readers already know, I am currently growing a scraggly beard. This is not Facial Hair Of Emotional Recovery, however. There's no sadness or mourning with the Facial Hair of Personal Rejuvenation (FHOPR for short). This is not about personal growth; merely beard growth. It started four weeks ago, when I went up to Lake Tahoe for my sister's birthday, and figured, why pack my razor for a two-day trip? I also haven't cut my hair in 2008, so I thought refraining from shaving would go hand in hand.
As the beard has grown people have encouraged me to keep going. There's an informal beard-growing movement that has happened among local comics, though some have referred to it as a "pandemic". Comics with beards seem to be doing well these days. There's never been a more perfect time to hop on the beardwagon. Or is there?
Sometimes I suspect that the encouragement I receive is not actual advice, but rather a ploy to keep me looking freakish for as long as possible. It's the same reason Jim always says, "Absolutely, I do", whenever Dwight asks him to do something secretive on The Office: costs him nothing, might lead to great amusement. A friend of mine finally confessed to her hatred of the FHOPR after getting drunk, calling it "terrible", and lamenting that she'd ever encouraged me to grow my hair out in the first place, because of the abomination that resulted.
I am clearly doing a better job of growing facial hair than in the past, as seen by this photo from 2004.
Despite the general scraggly appearance of the FHOPR, the goatee part is doing fine. There's much heartier growth around the chin area now, and the goatee actually connects. This suggests two things. One, that some time in the last four years, I have finally become a man. Two, that some time in the past, I had a douchebag ancestor, probably from somewhere near Modesto. The improved chin growth has not gone unnoticed, especially from people who remembered my previous embarrassing forays into facial hair. Their comments are similar to what a female-to-male transsexual might hear:
"No, seriously, you look a little more masculine today."
"I think I can see a few new hairs on your lip. Good job!"
"I knew there'd be some signs of that testosterone eventually."
How long will you keep the beard?
Until the itching gets to be too much, or I start making children shriek at my hideousness, babes weep at my approach, and women cry out, "Dear God, what is that thing?"
Are there any economic effects of the beard?
I'm saving a lot of money on shaving cream, razor blades, and condoms.
Is this an NHL playoff beard
No, but Joe Tobin is growing one of those.
How do women respond to the beard?
They sense the beard's power, but I deny them my essence.
What does this mean for the future of The Baby Faces of Comedy Tour?
There's no plans for a Baby Faces sequel yet, but I will certainly answer the call is needed. In the interim, I'm considering putting together the Beardies of Comedy Tour, featuring all the best bearded SF comics, plus Beata in a fake Santa Claus beard.