Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beard

I told a story in a previous blog about growing my first beard when I was 16. You can scan the archives for that if you'd like.

As you can tell from the photo collage above, growing a beard has been something I've been doing in my free time lately. I've joked to my friends that I don't even like this beard anymore, but I've already committed to it.

We're nearing the end of the unofficial "No Shave November" holiday. I guess technically I've been breaking the rules, as I trim the upper cheek area (so it doesn't go up to almost my eyes) and I've been trimming the mustache (so it doesn't grow over my upper lip).

I've had a beard pretty much uninterrupted for the last year. It kind of changes who you are. It becomes a part of who you are. I've lost count of how many times I've been referred to as "that guy with the beard." And lately I've been hearing "Have you ever heard that you look like that guy from 'The Hangover?'"

I never really thought I was much of a rebel. But, I guess the reason I really enjoyed sporting a beard off-and-on over the last few years was because I wasn't allowed to. Per Pizza Hut policy, beards are not allowed. Only goatees and modest sideburns are allowed.

I broke several rules while working at Pizza Hut and was never punished for them. But, the only one that I ever was regularly called out on was the beard rule. Most of the time it was just that I hadn't shaved. To have a completely smooth face, I have to shave every single day. I can usually get by with shaving every couple days, since my stubble isn't that noticeable.

I'm lazy, so I don't like to shave that often. That leads to having beards. And I wasn't allowed to do that, so that led to conflict.

After I left the Pizza Hut corporation, I started working at one of those gambling places. People come in and gamble. I give them their winnings and any snacks that they might like. I worked with all females; I was the only guy there. Within a few days I had a decent stubble going and was very happy to stop shaving and let my beard free.

Then I lost that job. Search the archives for the story there. Now it was time to find another job. I shaved off the beard and started the job search. It took a little while, but I ended up at Outback. I don't enjoy it, but it's about all I'm qualified to do at the moment.

I hadn't shaved for a few days and noticed that nobody said anything about it. I decided to try my luck and grow a beard. It was the first thing I liked about that job. I had the freedom to look the way I wanted to. That felt good and made me happy. And not having a job for a while made me unhappy, so this was a good feeling to have.

I kept it nice and trimmed and enjoyed it. I shaved it off briefly in the summer. Within a couple weeks it was back. I shaved it off again for most of September and some into October. With No Shave November coming up, I decided to then see how far I could take it. That's presently what I'm sporting in that picture at the top.

It's a lot more work than you would think. I have to shampoo it when I'm in the shower. I have to towel dry it afterward. I have to keep it combed down and smoothed out, otherwise it gets messed up and unruly. Like I said, I don't even think I like it anymore. But, I've already gone this far with it.

We'll see where this goes after November is over. I might be ready to give the beard a break for a while. Maybe I'll bring this guy back:

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