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The Long Beard Is Not The Only Beard
Having been thinking for almost a month now about doing some significant hedge trimming to my at-that-point roughly seven-month beard, I finally went through with it just the night before last. The thought to seriously reshape my long, at-times-rabbinic-looking beard eked in like water through a tight crack. At first, there was no more than a fleeting curiosity of what I might look like if I were able to once again make out even the faintest notion of my own jaw. Then, as this curiosity grew, and grew, I began to itch at the prospect of once again realizing the true length of my own neck and being able to freely run a comb or brush through my beard without at least some considerable discomfort. Finally, as I said, just two nights prior, I dusted off my long unused beard trimmer (which had, for the time, been repurposed as a “body hair trimmer”), fished out the longest comb in its set (the no. 8 comb, which might measure a full inch, maybe) and I set out to radically alter the outward appearance of my face.
With my wife by my side for moral support (which served to fuel my anxiety, rather than extinguish it), I set off on my left sideburn and worked my way around to the other, careful not to snip the lengthy ends of moustache for which I had been so patient. At first glance after dusting myself off (which was no small chore) and putting away the once-again-beard trimmer, a flight of near panic set in as I was quite sure that, over the course of the seven, or however many, months of beard growth, my chin had managed somehow to recede up and into my head. I turned to my wife, hoping for some kind of solace, or at least a lighthearted joke to break the tension in our cramped, little bathroom, only to be accidentally spat on by what had been a nervously accumulated mouthful of toothpaste suds. Insult to injury in the most comical and severe.
Waking up the next morning, I could tell that my better half was still ambivalent (or so I hoped that that was the worst of her inclination toward my newly sculpted facial hair). I was proud of myself for committing to a thing that I had thought about long and hard, like the couple of tattoos over which I wracked my brain in contemplation of any and all implications before getting. Now, I had to go into work, for the first time, to confront the people who had come to know me as that-guy-with-the-pretty-long-and-rather-rabbinic-looking-beard. To my complete surprise and relief, the roughly half of my colleagues who even noticed (I know, right) had only favorable remarks, but that still might have only been common pleasantry and placation until the beard they knew and loved grows back. Likely, though, they couldn’t really care less, which is typically the case, is it not?
Now, however, after two days of wearing my new, cropped, and jaw-revealing beard, I have to say that I’m not just relieved that it didn’t turn out to be a horrible mistake, but I’m actually really very pleased with the look. Every hair is, more or less, the same length as the next, which, for a man of my mild-level obsessive-compulsive disorder, is quite appealing. It’s something akin to the feeling of getting a really nice haircut after not having had one in some time, but somehow magnified by a factor of ten, at least, which really has a guy on cloud nine, especially when not everything can be quite as magical as a new beard cut. The point, anyways, before I digress further and loose my initial train of thought, is that you don’t need the longest beard in the room, or the longest beard you’ve ever grown, to feel good about the hair on your face. I’m feeling about as good as ever about this beard, and I just thought that that might be worth sharing.
- Jacob Smith