Beard Stories: Cherry Medicine

…Continued from prior post.
(Originally written August 26, 2009).

D picked me up at the airport at 9am and drove me home.

We set up in the bathroom. Sheet on the floor, sarong around my shoulders.
Got out the scissors, electric razor, electric beard-and-mustache trimmer, and safety razor with shaving cream. Hot towels at the ready.

I’d been thinking about shaving for weeks. Alternately arguing myself into and out of shaving. Getting second opinions, and third, and fourteenth. Thinking about how it would be to be beardless. Trying to answer for myself the questions others asked. Grappling with the harsher, barbed questions I aimed at myself. Would it be denying my identity to shave? Would I be closeting myself – with all the implied queer guilt? Was I missing a chance to find out how wonderful and accepting my new employers really were? Was I being a responsible adult – getting rid of childish, attention-grabbing grooming habits?

I’d been pretty calm about the whole thing. Fretting a bit. Over-analyzing more than a bit. But generally, as usual, keeping it all on the ‘head’ level – analytical, not emotional.
So, with the scissors in hand, I had a last-ditch emotional flash of “shit I don’t really want to do this but I kinda have to and I’m fast approaching the point of no return.” I whined, I pouted, I got wriggly. I was five and didn’t want to take my medicine.
I clenched my jaw, opened my eyes wide with a last ‘please i don’t want to do this’ pathetic look, grabbed the scissors, grabbed a big tuft of beard, and, with a snip that seemed too inconsequentially easy for such a big change, cut off a clump of beard.
Then I did it again. And again. Remember discovering, once the dread medicine is in your mouth, it’s easier to swallow than to spit it out? Once I was committed, suddenly it was easy. I expected to feel unsettled and upset through the whole process of shaving. But after the first few snips, it was just like shaving always was. A non-event. The beard was mangled. The damage was done. All that was left was taking the rest of it off.

My beard is curly. Very curly. The severed tuft stayed together as a unit. We set aside a piece, and D put it in an abalone shell on the altar, between the candles I’d lit in asking for a job.

I trimmed with a scissors, then D took over with a scissors when the angles got strange. When it got too short and I got scared Dossie was going to snip my chin by accident, we switched to the electric trimmer. And, although we had the hot towels waiting to do a barber-style shave, I opted to shave in the shower, by feel, like I’m used to doing after all these years.

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Categories: Beard Stories, bearded lady, bearded woman, Surprising, Timeline | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Beard Stories: Cherry Medicine

  1. Nice description! And I like all the thoughts that you mention. It is really not easy to decide which way to go. I also think about whether I should soon take my beard off. Because I am somehow stressed by always being starred at and not finding a job. And I feel I am somehow living in a future world in my mind, where people are no more afraid of other people, not afraid of someone being different in thinking or in looking. But we are not there and many people here in Germany are far away from accepting the differences that other people bring. And this is stressfull. I think in some professions it is ok to have a beard, if you make the beard your profession, as using it for the art. But in this “normal” world with all the masks and habbits and strong structures there seems to be no place for bearded women. Sorry to say this. I guess some places on earth must be different than Germany, but in Germany you still have problems being a foreigner and other things. I just wanted to have a job in the kindergarden, beside that in the end they told me being a studied teacher is not enough for working in the kindergarden the boss told me that she might have a problem with my beard and that all beside of one woman working there are shaving their legs. WEll. In the end I would say, this was not the place for me anymore. It was many years ago a place I had worked for a while not having a beard and at that time my knowledge was enough.So what do I do now…..it is hard, but I am still looking for the place where I feel that i belong to and where people understand me.

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