The Three-Month Beard Experiment
Periş (Mureş), Romania
I let my beard grow for a full month before giving it the first of several cleanups—Slovakia had the initial honors. Every week or so I'd clean up my neckline and trim down my whiskers so that they were generally even (keeping the unkempt mountain man look at bay). This lasted for about a month, until I hit September, when I quickly maxed out the length setting on the diminutive Wahl trimmer I purchased in Singapore.
So, for the last month, I've let the whiskers run free. When I adorn my sock hat, I feel like a cast member of Deadliest Catch—as if I should be plucking crab pots out of the Bering Sea in a fluorescent orange jumpsuit.
Random trivia: Popular wisdom holds that beards evolved as protection from the cold, but beards appear in the tropics, and the Alaskan Inuit cannot grow them. Some scientists now speculate that beards evolved as cooling devices, to whisk sweat off the faces of hunters.
There is truly nothing hard about doing something like this. All that's required of it in this lifestyle is patience, for there are no puzzled looks from office coworkers to ponder over, or societal limits to placate.
It should be a crime for a man to enter his thirties not having known what his face looks like without a razor's touch for weeks or months on end.
Why must sporting a full beard be thought of as one tattered outfit away from homeless bum or dirty hippie? The ancient Greeks regarded the beard as sign of virility, which it was a disgrace to be without. It wasn't until the time of Alexander the Great that smooth shaving became customary, as generals began urging their soldiers to shave (citing beards as convenient handholds for enemy soldiers, and that shaving distinguishes friendly soldiers from barbarian enemies).
Given all the "War on Terror" nonsense these days, bearded men truly have become the barbarians of our time.
…But much like the Greek soldiers learned, I too have discovered that a beard and infant do not mix. My nearly nine-month-old son has long since mastered the art of grabbing objects with his hands, and my beard has not been spared from his unmerciful grip. This alone has given me good reason to trim it back to a more battle-ready length. Besides, I've got a full enough face without all that hair making me look like I've got an even rounder one, or a double chin.
So, off it went today. Three months of patience, reduced to setting 4.5 of 6 on my trimmer. I'm sure you'll agree that this was a good thing.
I tell Tatiana that I'm getting bored with long hair, and that thinking about shaving completely and cutting my hair off, perhaps back to a level that it was during my 2006 visit to Colombia. Naturally, she's not too thrilled with this idea (her preference on me is this length, or longer). We'll see.
…Maybe I should just go with the Miami moustache.