Timeline

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.

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

Early beard timeline

I’m posting things a bit out of order here, as I begin to assemble the stories from the various places I’ve written them down – LJ, email, notebooks, 3 different computers, scraps of paper.

So, I’ll provide a bit of a timeline here, to give the stories a bit more context and framework.

Early beard timeline:

February 26, 2008 – got accepted into grad school.

March 10, 2008 – got offered a summer job as a grad student researcher

March 2008 – made a plan to quit my job ASAP, which would leave me 6 weeks to travel and play around before starting work/school. Decided to also use those 6 weeks to grow my beard, to satisfy my curiosity about what my beard looks like if I don’t hide it. Planned to shave it before starting work for the summer.

April 2, 2008 – gave my one-month notice at work. I considered giving notice on April Fool’s Day but decided against it. I was happy enough to be quitting and didn’t need another excuse to start chuckling as I told them I’d be leaving.

April, 2008 – planned a bunch of travel, including trips to see family. Didn’t really think through that I was planning this travel for the time that I’d have my beard.

April 24, 2008 – quit my job, started growing my beard.

May 2008 – traveled to see my parents. Also saw several friends from high school and two sets of aunts/uncles/cousins who I hadn’t seen in a few years.

May 24 – June 4, 2008 – traveled to Israel

June 5-8, 2008 – decided not to shave my beard when I started work for the summer. I’d had good experiences overall, so it seemed ok to keep it. And, I had underestimated how long it would take to grow, and I was curious what it would look like as it filled in more. I figured I’d shave it in the fall, before I started a teaching fellowship that would have me teaching in a middle school once a week.

June 9, 2008 – started work at a graduate researcher.

June 13, 2008 – here are a few pictures of me with 7 weeks of beard. http://www.flickr.com/photos/27636725@N02/?saved=1

Categories: Beard Stories, Timeline | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The story of this beard

The short version, the version I usually give when a stranger inquires, is this: 

Hair started growing out of my chin when I was about thirteen. For the next twelve years, I shaved, tweezed, pulled, and occasionally chemical-burned the hair away. It was a pain, so I finally decided to just let it grow. 

I didn’t expect to like having a beard (I didn’t expect to hate it, either), but I did. So I kept it. And, somewhere along the way, I started writing down all the odd occurrences and amusing moments my beard brings me. These are those stories. Some day, I hope to organize them into a book, but, for now, they’re appearing here in a more scattered form. 

For more details about who I am, see the “About” section. 

Enjoy!

Categories: Beard Stories, Questions, Timeline | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: