September 26, 2011

Reflections On Beard Growing

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What is the issue?

It seems only natural that at least once in their young lives, those men who are able to will attempt to grow a beard. As soon as a post-pubescent dude notices whiskers on his chin he likely thinks, “I wonder if I could grow this bad boy out;” pretty natural.

The male’s response to having The Beard, however, is quiet the opposite of natural.

The emotions that are invested, and the actions that are evoked from such a slight change in appearance and a relatively low commitment to skipping a step in daily bathroom duties, are not rational in any form.

The whole experience is like a power surge before a blackout.

First, patience is a slow-beating drum while The Man must deal with the fresh hair awkwardly speckling His face. Coworkers ask The Man, “Are you trying to grow a mustache?” Fellow elevator patrons judging him for neglecting hygiene. Girls that are Friends complaining. The Man’s desire to shave is pretty strong. Get out while he can. Confidence that The Beard will ever happen is incredibly low.

Then after many painful weeks of looks from disapproving managers, the face fur is full enough to be managed. Necklines trimmed. Long patches kept in check. The Beard is finally presentable and ready for a pairing of cowboy boots and plaid, like it was always meant to support.

It is impossible to quantify the great magnitude of self-confidence that bringing out The Beard diffuses through The Man. He suddenly has more strength without changing his biweekly work out routine. He is more intelligent without having caught up on all that reading he’s been meaning to do. He’s more hilarious than ever. More courageous than he could imagine. He could probably stop a robbery from happening if he were to witness one in his upper-middle class neighborhood.

The Man finally feels like “the man” when he has The Beard. However, this is the rub. This is when The Beard shows that he cannot be controlled, but merely contained. Spending too much time with The Beard has resulted in The Man overexerting himself.

Outlandish bets are made and lost on sports games. Injuries from bone-headed attempts at scaling obstacles too imaginable to scale are frequent. Run-ins with girls that The Man never should have run into are becoming more prevalent. And in each one of these little Beardly-Confidence-induced accidents, a little penny of self-doubt is deposited in The Man until eventually He is too full. Is it the length? Too long? Or the neckline’s placement? Too low? Or the mustache connecting to the rest? Does that make The Man look like he is trying too hard?

Inside the man, his fleeting self-confidence has given stage to his inherent self-doubt. The Man’s self-doubt is pissed he has been neglected. He has been blaring Cee-Lo in his room while The Man Bunberrys around with The Beard. But now it’s his turn to play.

Everyday with The Beard has turned into a ticking time bomb. Inevitably The Man will misinterpret a casual eye-glance, sly smile, or noticeable cough and The Beard’s existence will be thrown into question. One joke, one movie quote, or one far-sighted coworkers squint could mean death. Possible extinction.

Eventually The Man will succumb to himself and shave. He will throw away months of work and commitment and willingly delete the hair from his face. Like an amateur novelist dragging his folder across the desktop to the empty trash can. *PAW-CHIEF* And that will be the biggest mistake of his life. As soon as the razor exposes the first strip of flesh from beneath blue gel, he will regret his decision.

And so it’s on to fantasy sports to try and fill the void until the next long weekend or vacation when The Man will accidentally forget his razor but also magically regain his desire for Something More. The Beard will then begin anew its cycle of power and loss. Taming The Man, one follicle at a time. TC mark

Nate Arnold

Nate Arnold is an advertising executive in Chicago, IL. He likes to think he’s more like Ken Cosgrove than Pete …

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