Uncategorized

Beard Stories – Finger curls

The hair on my head is dark brown and basically straight, maybe a little curly around the edges when it’s really humid. My beard is red-brown and tightly curled. It winds itself up in unruly tendrils, about a quarter inch across. Except when an occasional hair decides to be straight for a day. It’s never the same one. I know because I tried pulling That One straight hair, but there was a new one the next day. I let that one go, and after my next shower, that day’s straight hair was back to curling with the rest of the bunch, but there was an errant straight hair on the other side. After a while, I realized that I could make that one straight hair curl back up. It’s like curling a ribbon on a gift. If you have a rippled ribbon and you run one side of a pair of scissors along the ribbon, it will make a corkscrew curl to decorate your present. If I take my fingernail and pull hard against the stray straight hair, it will curl back up, into a tidy little quarter-inch-wide spring.

Except that the white hairs don’t seem to respond to curling so well. I’ve got a few white hairs now, scattered through my temples and head and beard. And it seems like the white hairs are more likely to be That One straight hair. And, at least half the time, they won’t re-curl, no matter how many times I try. Until a few days later when they re-curl of their own accord.
I don’t want to pull out my white hairs. I’m proud of my age, of what I’ve worked through, of the stresses I’ve endured to earn these white hairs. I think white hair is beautiful, and I admire and envy people who have a shock-white head of hair. I don’t think my genetics will turn my hair that white for a long time to come, so I hang on to the few white hairs I have. I let them stick out, unruly and stubborn, until they decide, in their own time, to rejoin the group.

When I first started growing out my beard, I wondered how long it would get. I envisioned myself with a ZZ Top style beard, draped down my front. I hoped to be able to braid it and play with it. When I was in kindergarten, I envied a kid whose hair was so long she could sit on the ends of her braids. Julia, I think her name was, and I can still picture her blond pigtail braids. I decided, with all my 5 year old determination, that I was going to have hair as long as hers. So I rejected haircuts and let my already-long hair keep growing. The problem was, the rest of me also kept growing. So, the longer my hair got, the further it still had to go to reach my tuchus. By the time I was 12, I’d finished my last growth spurt, and my hair finally had a chance to catch up. But by then, it seemed to have reached its natural maximum. If I tilted my head back, I could, just barely, sit on the ends of my own hair. I declared it a victory.
I supposed I imagined my beard would grow in the same way. That it would just keep going, long and straight, or perhaps a bit wavy, until it cascaded down my chest. After all, that’s how my brother’s beard grows. Thick, wavy, long, and red.
But I got curls. And, just like the trailing ribbons on the present turn into short, tidy little springs when they’re curled up, my beard hair curls itself up into a cozy mat around my chin. It refuses to get long. Or at least it refuses to show its length. If I pull my beard straight, right now, it reaches almost three inches from my chin. But when I let it go, it springs back up, nestling close in, barely an inch away from my face. At its longest, my beard got to maybe 5 or 6 inches, stretched out, but it only looked like a densely matted, uneven layer, about an inch and a half thick.
I’ve learned, over the years, how to trim it to make the curls as tidy as possible, and not to let it get too long. I was kind of bummed that I couldn’t grow a thick, long beard. And the curls continue to be a pain to manage.
But then I discovered the best thing about my tight, tiny curls.
My curls are small, about a quarter inch across. Too small to wind around my finger, even my pinky. But, I discovered six years ago, my curls are, delightfully and inconveniently, almost exactly the diameter of an infant’s fingers.
Or, I should say, my son discovered this. He’s always been an energetic child, even before he was born. When I was pregnant with him, as a nervous first time parents, I carefully counted and tracked how many times he kicked, to make sure he was growing ok. I was told to contact my midwife if he kicked fewer than ten times an hour. I never got anywhere near the worry point. When I counted his movements, I usually counted ten kicks within a minute, maybe two or three minutes on a slow day.
When he was born, he took to breastfeeding very quickly, and with enthusiasm. He didn’t want to sit still just because he was nursing, even as an infant. His tiny hands would wave and reach, and his tiny fingers instinctively closed on anything in their path. Including, of course, my beard, which was perfectly in arm’s range. His tiny fingers closed on a hank of my beard. And then his tiny, randomized, but surprisingly strong arm decided to dart off somewhere else. With my beard still firmly in his grasp. I tried to extract him – one-handed, since my other hand was still holding his tiny head firmly to my breast. I worked one finger loose of the cross-twisted strands that trapped his little knuckles, but then, as soon as I started extracting the next finger, the first little finger would dart back into the snare of curls. And as I worked, his arm kept moving, jerking my chin around, just a little bit painfully. It ended up taking two of my hands to remove one of his tiny hands from my tight beard curls, which were just the perfect fit for his beautiful, grabbing fingers.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beard Stories – Catching up

I’ve been collecting beard stories, but haven’t had time to post. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the last seven years –

I had a child, found a co-parent and partner, became president of a nonprofit, got married, switched from working full-time to parenting full-time and working part-time, went camping a bunch, bought a house, had another child, grew my hair out long, started a business, sold a house, moved 2000 miles away – from California urban to mid-western suburban, juggled five different part-time jobs, moved one more mile, and planted a garden.

I still have a beard, and I still have my AFAB body.

At some point, I’ll get to writing up the beard stories I’ve been keeping notes on for the past seven years. Here’s a recent one.

A few weeks back, a large sign was posted in my town, tallying the US COVID deaths. Within an hour of when it was erected, before its official unveiling, there was a small crowd of angry anti-maskers yelling and screaming in front of the sign. The loudest one, a grey-haired white man in a Packers tshirt and sunglasses, stood on a low rock wall, spouting whatever came to his mind, and his half-dozen fans cheered him on. About an hour into his rant, he started going on about how conservatives were better in every way. After discussing how conservatives were richer and had bigger balls, he started yelling about how conservatives have hotter women. His three adoring Karens cheered and clapped, so he repeated himself, and they cheered more. He repeated himself again, “”Conservatives have hot women!” The Karen in front replied, facing toward her friend but speaking loud enough for the crowd, “Not women with beards.”

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beard Stories – Movember

Another bearded woman. This one’s growing out hers for Movember (No-shave November) to raise awareness of PCOS, while her bearded bros raise awareness of testicular and prostate cancers. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/07/woman-movember-moustache-_n_4234198.html

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beard Stories – Disneyfied

Disney princesses, reimagined with beards!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/adamellis/your-favorite-disney-princesses-with-beards

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beard Stories: Searching

So, I’ve been neglecting this blog for a bit, because my life has been in a phase of general upheaval, most of it good. (You’ll see me mentioning K a lot more, as he’s become a much bigger part of my life.)

The less fun upheaval has come from an unexpected apartment hunt. Due to some disagreements with my roommates [drama details redacted], I ended up looking for a new place to live, with a potential deadline to get out or face living with a cat and/or angry roommates.

So, as you do in San Francisco, I got on craigslist. Or, more specifically, K got on craigslist and started sending me listings. Which I then screened, compiled into a spreadsheet, and contacted every single one that seemed at all suitable.
By Sunday, I had a list of about ten places to view – back-to-back appointments every half hour or so, driving all over Oakland and Berkeley. At half the places, I showed up for the 30-minute open house along with a dozen other people, all clamoring to get a place to live that wouldn’t drain every last bit of cash. They all looked so normal. A young, thin, feminine, white woman, with her mother helping her look. A 30-ish het couple dressed in sweaters. A 30-something man with a tidy haircut and polo shirt. Some folks asked for applications, some didn’t. At one place, I asked for an application and filled it out as three het couples in skinny jeans examined the studio, yard, and garage. I handed it to the agent, a brusque, long-haired, middle-aged white woman dressed in gardening clothes and asked if she needed a credit report or anything else. She said, “No, we just look at everything all together,” which didn’t seem to make much sense to me. I never heard back from her and she didn’t call my references. A shy, mumbling, middle-aged white man showed an apartment and asked us to list our emails so he could send applications. I listed mine clearly and then emailed him to follow up. There were several others on the list – an undergrad whose mother was asking all the questions, a man with an eager Labrador, an Asian man with black-framed glasses.
I started to worry that the landlords didn’t want to rent to the queerdo (queer + weirdo, a term I like for myself most of the time). I started to wonder if I’d need to shave my beard in order to get a place, just like I shaved it to get my job. Of course, no one said anything about the beard, but then no one ever does.

Over Thanksgiving, I kept looking. I scheduled a half-dozen places on Friday, bouncing around the east bay solo this time, which was much less fun than driving around with K for company. This time, it was almost all individually scheduled showings, not open houses. When I showed up, it was just me and the agent.
As before, I made a point to mention that I was a teacher. As before, I made a point to make friendly small talk with the agent or landlord.
This time, I saw an inlaw cottage in Berkeley that looked appealing. The young black man in a grey hoodie showing the place didn’t have applications, so I pulled an application from the other day out of my trunk and filled it out on the spot. I thought it might seem pushy, but I also thought it would be the best way to get my application in first and hopefully get priority. He seemed to young to be the owner and too disorganized to be a property manager. My guess was owner’s son. Then, I went to see an apartment down in Oakland. The property manager, a very chatty, 40-something, rotund, shiny-headed bald black man in track pants, talked nonstop as he sorted through a gallon-sized bag of keys to try to find the right one. I asked if he had other properties for rent for under a thousand, and he offered to knock the price on a nearby apartment down from $1100 to $1000, “to get the right person in there.” I think I might have mentioned being a teacher, but he hadn’t seen my financials yet, so his suggestion that I was the “right kind of person” had to be based almost entirely on looks. We drove over to see it, I filled out an application, he called in to check my credit, found out it was good, offered to throw in a parking space, and offered the apartment to me on the spot. I told him I wanted to think about it, and he said to just let him know. Then he spent another ten minutes continuing to tell me his life story – how he’d lived near where I live in SF, which schools he’d gone to (since I said I was a teacher). Then he mentioned, apropos of what, I forget, that a good friend of his (or maybe one of his tenants?) directed the Gay Men’s Choir. I perked up, asked who. He couldn’t remember the name, but he thought he had a photo of the guy. He searched his messy desk but could only find a photo of the back of the guy’s head, which didn’t give me enough to figure out if I knew him. But we got to talking about the Chorus and how great it was. Finally, I managed to extract myself from the conversation, to go see one last place.

Two days later, I got a call back offering me the inlaw in Berkeley, which I’ve now got a deposit down on. I get the keys on Friday.

I’m glad that someone thinks that a butch-haired, red-bearded, bespectacled, 30 year old white woman in a tshirt and new jeans is the “right kind of person” to rent to. I’m glad I didn’t have to shave. And I’m looking forward to my new place.

 

Categories: Beard Stories, bearded lady, bearded woman, Positive, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: