Every year for my birthday I create a challenge that I send out to everyone on Facebook: share a story, write a haiku, even just figure out when my actual birthday is- just DON’T leave me a drive by “happy birthday”- take a moment and leave something meaningful.
This year the theme is: BEAUTY
Maybe this seems a bit odd, coming from a man that typically appears to be a lumberjack. I love my beard, and I’ll pull the old hipster line, that I was sporting a beard before it was cool. It was college, (’05-’09), and sometimes it was about the freedom of not having to shave, sometimes it was for a role, but most often and more importantly it became for me about shaping identity. Some people didn’t like it. “What’s that thing on your face?” or “when are you going to shave?” were common questions. But I liked how I look. It was my look. I recall driving down the highway one night, with my hat and sweater on, smoking a cigarette, with my beard coming in, a soft short hair at the time, I caught myself in the rear-view mirror and thought, yeah, this is me.
These days the beard fad is in full swing, and while I can’t help but enjoy the beard love that seems to be running rampant, at times I find it to be quite shallow. Like I’d be just as attractive to some people if I had had a bowl cut in the 90’s. I don’t care that it’s trendy, I care how I look, and if that works to my advantage at the moment, I’m all for it. But I’ll have a beard when this fad is over, because unfortunately that’s how it feels, a pop culture fad and not a staple of men’s fashion.
But all that’s gone now. Yes, I shaved. Completely. First time in more than a year that I’ve been clean shaven, maybe more. While I understand the look of shock from everyone around me, it is a drastic change (I have a flair for the dramatic), not many people had anything positive to say. (In fact only the black gay men approved of my clean shaven face, thanks guys!) “You look better with a beard” I was told and have been told before. Hell, I do, I look great with a beard, but comments like these aren’t helpful, and ultimately aren’t that nice either. I know it’s not intentional, but to me it sounds like “cover up” your actual face just isn’t good enough.
I’m beautiful. With or without my beard I am drop dead gorgeous.
To be Continued in Birthday Beauty 2: The Big Reveal