Beard Stories: Customer Service

(Originally written August 17, 2009)

I get great customer service.


At the Borders near campus, where I stop and get a chai latte once or twice a week, the teenager working the counter addresses me by name. I’ve never introduced myself. He must have gotten it off of my credit card.

(08-09 school year, Borders near SFSU)

I walk up to this gate agent, to check about some detail for the flight I’m waiting to board. She answers my question, addressing me by my legal first name. I’m confused for a minute, wondering, illogically, if I’ve got my name on me somewhere. I think for half a second that maybe I forgot to take off one of those name-tag stickers from a workshop, even though I haven’t been to any workshop recently. I wonder, in a flitting second, if she’s got amazingly good eyesight and is reading my name scrawled in little print on the paper luggage tag on my backpack. I glance down to see where the telltale tag is that’s giving away my name, and think about how they tell little kids now not to wear shirts with their name on it, so that some grownup can’t address them by name and pretend to know them.
And then I realize that she must have been working at the ticket counter earlier and checked me in – and saw my ID, with my legal name. And remembered me.

I find it odd that, even after this has happened to me several times, the first few explanations my brain comes up with are pretty far-fetched.

(summer 2008? Some non-CA airport. FL maybe or OH?)
“You were here about a month ago, right?” the woman in the box office at the museum asks me in a friendly voice as I pay my entrance fee.
“Yeah,” I reply, in a half-questioning, half-amused tone. This time I’ve picked up quickly on why she remembers me. But still, I’m surprised. Last time, I bought my tickets online, and I distinctly remember that a different woman took my ticket on the way into the museum. So I didn’t interact with this woman last time.
“You were down at the big coral reef tank, right? I saw you there.” She’s friendly. A nice 20-something white brunette, indistinguishable from any other other cute young presumably-straight girl.
“Yeah,” I say, smiling mildly but chuckling inside. I had been there a month before, with D and her daughter A. It was a weekend. The place had been packed. We’d barely had space to squeeze in to see the big reef tank for a few minutes, peering over the tiny shoulders of wiggly children. So, she had to have noticed me from within a pretty big crowd. I wonder what she thought of me.
“Cool.” A pause, with a smile with no particular meaning. That’s all she had to say on the subject. “Here are your tickets. Enjoy the museum.”

I wish I had a way to dip inside someone’s head and see what they think of me. What their judgements are, yes, but also just what they make of me – how they interpret things, whether they think of me as a ‘woman with a beard’ or a ‘person with tits and a beard’ or a ‘guy with tits’ or what. And what they assume. What explanations pop into their heads before they can think – like the illogical ideas that I’d forgotten to remove a name tag popped into my head. In this case, I also wonder what else she noticed – if she even saw D and A, and what she thought our connection to each other was.
(December 2008. Going to the California Academy of Sciences with Mike from Pomona.)

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Beard Stories: Why not me?

I saw this the other day, and it got me thinking.

I’ve never been harassed in a public restroom. I’m not sure why. I hear it’s a thing that happens frequently to gender-anomalous and gender-nonconforming folks. It happens enough that there’s discussion of it, writing about it, workshops about avoiding it, art about it. But it hasn’t happened to me. And I don’t know why.

I certainly look strange, in terms of gender. Some folks find my gender hard to ascertain. Some stammer over pronouns or sir-ma’am-sir. Some ask outright which I am. Some ask if I’m changing genders, and some ask what else I’m planning to do in the gender change they assume I’m undertaking. But I haven’t been hassled in restrooms.

It’s not that I haven’t been in public restrooms. It’s not that I go out of my way to use single-stall restrooms. I’m not even consistent in which restroom I use. Mostly I go for the women’s, but if the line is shorter or if I just feel like it, I’ll use the men’s.

I’m not an intimidating person. It’s not that a potential attacker would look at me and decide I’d win the fight.

Maybe I’ve just been lucky, not to have been hassled in a public bathroom. But it seems like, given the frequency of harassment others report, I should have been hassled at least once by now.

A while back, a fabulous queer friend suggested that maybe it’s because I’m clearly not trying to pass as anything. It’s no secret that I’m oddly gendered, so it’s no fun for a would-be-bully to point out my difference. It’s no secret what my genders are, so no one will feel duped when they “realize” that I’m not what they thought. No one gets to feel righteous by outing my sneakiness or gets to be a know-it-all correcting my error. The friend pointed out that attempting to pass is implicitly asking those around you a question: “Do I pass?” By necessity, it’s putting the decision about your gender in the hands of those around you. It’s giving the people around you the opportunity to approve or deny. I’m not trying to pass, so I’m not asking anyone a question. I’m not giving them the implicit opportunity to evaluate my gender. So, while my gender is non-traditional, it’s also not a secret or a question. Which takes all the fun out of harassment.

I think I also benefit from a dearth of stereotypes about bearded women. To take the South Pacific view on prejudice, “you’ve got to be carefully taught” to hate others. No one really gets taught to hate bearded ladies. There are slurs for gay men, for lesbians, for races of all sorts, for many religions, for women, for disabled folks, and for transgender folks. But there isn’t really a slur or a stock set of insults or jokes about bearded women. Sure, people learn to tease a woman who sports a hint of darker lip hair. But a full-on bearded woman? We’re believed to be mythical. We’re considered hoaxes, invented by clever make-up artists of bygone circuses. Or, if we are believed to be real, we’re considered so rare that you’d never expect to meet us – we’re a once-in-a-generation world record, a believe-it-or-not fascinating freak, like an 8-foot-tall man or a cow with two heads. We’re in the category of rarity that borders on the fantastical and miraculous, chimeras that are possible cousins to mermaids and centaurs. The most common reactions to my beard seem to be confusion and disbelief, followed closely by curiosity. Anger and derision almost never come up, in bathrooms or anywhere else.

Now, there have been a few times when someone got upset by my gender. Twice, the worst insult they could come up with was “bearded lady,” and they had to rely on their tone of voice, volume, and adjectives to convey their displeasure.  The other time, I got called an abomination, in Hebrew. Apparently the ultra-Orthodox have a stronger set of gender-policing insults at the ready than most Americans. Or, to be fair, one ultra-Orthodox man did.

When I first grew my beard, I was nervous about restrooms. I followed the advice from friends and workshops. Go in with a friend. Talk as you go in, so they can hear your high voice that confirms your place in the ladies’ room. Avoid eye contact. Rush in, rush out. Try to avoid standing in lines, which gives people time to look at you. Now, I forget to do these things.

I wonder what else is protecting me from restroom harassment. I’d like to think that my confident posture is helpful, but I’m not sure that’s true. Partially because my posture isn’t always that confident. Maybe it works in my favor that I’m not intimidating. I’m short enough to not be very threatening, so maybe women don’t feel scared. Or maybe it helps that I have at least a few clear signals that I belong in any given restroom: tits, stature, voice for the women’s; beard, haircut, clothing for the men’s. So, if anyone is looking for confirmation that I belong, they can find it easily enough.

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. For someone to hassle me or assault me in a public restroom. Four years and counting, and it hasn’t happened yet. Knock wood.

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Beard Stories: Jump in and swim

A week ago, I went to Slut Walk ( Slut Walk is a rally and march challenging the idea that women (or other people) who “dress slutty” are asking to be raped, or that, if they’re not asking for it, they’re at least being unwise, because it’s “inevitable” that they’ll attract negative attention.

Slut Walk started off with a few scheduled speakers: Carol Queen, some other local notables. Then the crowd marched from Dolores Park, through the Castro, to Officer Jane Plaza, where they held a second, open-mike (open-megaphone?) rally. Some speakers were clearly used to public speaking. Others admitted their nervousness, and the crowd cheered them on.

A handful of years ago, I wanted to get comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. I considered toastmasters, but it didn’t really appeal to me. I considered classes or a coach, but that seemed like too much money. So instead I started teaching workshops. I’d already taught some – training wilderness leaders, mostly – and I was ok in front of a room of people who knew less than me. But standing at the front of a hotel conference room, in front of a mix of people, some of whom knew more than me on the subject, was sufficiently daunting. But the workshop audiences were low-stakes. It wasn’t for work. It was people who wanted to be there to listen to me. It wasn’t a competitive environment like an academic conference. It wasn’t an easy next step, but it was a manageable challenge. And it worked. I started teaching workshops, and along the way I figured out how to teach and how to be comfortable teaching.

Recently, I’ve been wanting to get more comfortable with a microphone. Giving a speech, running an event, doing a fundraising ask. So I figured the same jump-in-and-swim approach might work.

The crowd at Slutwalk seemed friendly. A few speakers admitted their own nervousness, and the crowded cheered their encouragement. The organizers kept inviting folks to speak. I kept chickening out. And then they announced that they could only take three more people. And I walked up and asked to be put on the list, half hoping they’d already gotten their last three in the time it took me to get to the front. But they had  only gotten two, and I suddenly had the honor of speaking last.

As the two ahead of me spoke, I rehearsed in my head. I started off, “I”m proud to be a slut!” and waited for the crowd to cheer. And they did. I continued “I’m proud to be a woman!” And they cheered again. “I’m proud to be queer!” One more cheer. I talked for a minute or so about how slut-shaming acts as a way to control women’s (and others’) options in life, how it acts to restrict their clothing, their movement, their sexuality, their freedom. I talked about how advice that begins, “You’ll be safer if you don’t ___” is still controlling, even when it masquerades as concern for our welfare. I didn’t quite know how to end it. I hadn’t gotten that far in the three-minute rehearsal in my head. I was grateful that the speaker before me had given a lengthy and eloquent speech on intersections of oppression, on how violence crosses all lines, and how being liberal doesn’t protect people from domestic and sexual violence.

I spoke for probably a minute, though I couldn’t swear to that. The stage fright erased my sense of time and my memory of what I said. I said something to finish and handed the megaphone over to the organizer. I had been aiming for “not a disaster” and left feeling like I’d met my goal.

In the last week, three different people have come up to me and introduced themselves, saying they saw me speak at Slutwalk and that they thought I did a great job. One was an attendee, the second was one of the organizers. The third, this morning, came up to me on the BART platform, thanked me for speaking, and introduced herself as the founder of Slutwalk SF.

I’ve had this beard for over four years. And I still forget how memorable it makes me. I need to keep that in mind as I venture into speaking in front of crowds.

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Beard Stories: Did he really just say that?

I was sitting out on a friend’s front stoop yesterday, waiting for him to come home. It was a sunny afternoon in the Haight. My friend’s place is on Waller, one of the residential streets just off of Haight. As I was sitting there, various people passed by. Some walking dogs, some walking kids, some chatting. I’d been there about 15 minutes when this conversation passed by:

The Characters:

The Guy: 20- or 30-something, white (appearing), hipster clothing, short brown hair, one-week beard, at least six feet tall, broad-shouldered and thin-waisted, man. Walking a bicycle.

His friends: Similar age, coloring, and dress. A small-build woman and a shorter, slender man. Without bicycles.

The Guy: …I don’t see why someone else’s opinion of their gender should trump my own! I’ve seen cock. When I see a cock, I call it a man!…

Thankfully, I they passed by and I didn’t have to hear any more than that.

I’m amazed (but not really surprised) that people still say shit like that. So unabashedly.

Quite a blatant reminder that we’ve still got a long way to go on queer rights and acceptance.

Categories: Beard Stories, Negative, Surprising | 2 Comments

Beard Stories: Remember me?

August 16, 2009:

(Context – I had just shaved the beard for a job interview, which was why it was so short.)

I’ve found myself needing something more productive to do when I’m killing time online. I’ve been wanting to get back to journaling but haven’t been sure what to write about publicly. And I’ve been meaning to start writing up and posting my beard stories. I recently found a blog by a bearded woman in Germany who did a daily posting about her bearded experiences. I wish I’d though to make a daily project of it when I started growing the beard, but then when I started growing it, I only thought I’d keep it for six weeks.

So, my new killing-time-online project is to write up the beard stories. One a day, or as often as I can. I’m not going for style yet, just to get the details down – though I’d welcome stylistic or other suggestions.

A few notes on how I write up these stories. I’ve been writing some of these up in a paper-journal, inconsistently, since I started growing the beard on April 23, 2008.
I try to get as much detail as possible – visual (hence the detailed physical descriptions of the people), location, time, setting, tone of voice, etc. I feel odd writing in someone’s age, dress, and, most particularly, their (apparrent) race. But I’ve found it interesting the ways in which the responses I get do or don’t don’t match stereotypes. So, apologies in advance for that convention in my writing. In the paper version, I also diagram locations, gestures, expressions as best I can.

“Remember me?”
Newark Airport, Newark, NJ, Near Gate 15
approx. 5pm EST
I’m early for my flight. Wandering around near the gate looking for an unoccupied outlet to plug in my computer and get online. I usually wouldn’t pay for the airport wireless, but the school is paying for this trip, so it’s on them.
It’s busy – lots of flights coming and going, lots of people wandering around. A tall, thin man with dark, curly hair is walking towards me, smiling with a “remember me?” kind of smile. He’s dressed business casual, appears to be traveling alone. Resonably good looking guy with a strong, thin nose. White or something that passes for it, I’m not sure. Mediterranean maybe. I don’t have a clue who he is. I can’t remember ever meeting him before, and I’ve got a fairly good memory for faces, even if I often can’t pull up the name or context. He steps a bit to the side, towards me, arms out in a “hey! good to see you!” welcoming posture. I’ve got no clue who he is.
“Hey!” he says, in the “remember-me?” friendly tone.
“Hi…” I reply, with neither tone nor expression hiding that I recognize him at all.
“We were on the same flight out here!”
I didn’t sit next to him, I don’t recall being next to him in line, and I definitely didn’t interact with him at all.
“We came in on the same flight, right? From San Francisco?” he says, as if this explains why he’s greeting me like a long-lost friend.
“Um, yeah,” is the best I can manage. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to reply. My expression is still confused, cagey, not engaging. I don’t know what he’s after.
“I saw you on the flight the other day. And now we’re going back on the same one!” he continues, although I’d pretty much gathered that much already.
“Um, yeah,” followed by a pause, waiting to see if he’s heading anywhere with this.
He continues smiling, apparently not sure what comes next either. At this point we’ve both stopped walking, to have this little exchange. I’m not sure what else to say either, and, following my usual response to social situations where I don’t know what to do, I duck out. “Um, great. Thanks.” I mutter, nonsensically but friendly and smiling obligingly, and turn to walk away towards the gate. Apparently, all he wanted was to say hi and let me know, in a friendly way, that he recognized me, and he continues walking the other way, to get a snack or wherever he was headed.

Even though I’ve only got a week or two of stubble, I assume he remembers me because of the beard. It’s not the first time I’ve been remembered out of a very large crowd. It’s strange for me, since I’m used to being a wallflower and have been pretty happy with that.
I wonder, as I walk away, how it is that he doesn’t register that I’m the strange one, so of course he remembers me, but that he’s just ordinary, so of course I don’t remember him.

I told Dossie about it later. She wondered if perhaps he remembered me not because of the beard but because he’s a “tit man.” I considered it for a few days, but finally concluded that the tone of it wasn’t that he was hitting on me. And I’ve never had that experience before I started growing the beard, even though my tits have been prodigious for 14 years now. Dossie also wondered if the guy was making a point to say hi as a queer-to-queer recognition, but it didn’t have that sense either. I know my gaydar is lousy, so it’s possible I missed it, but the tone of it was a bit more clueless. Besides, I’m used to the usual queer-to-queer recognition signs, like the little nod-and-smiles I got from the other butch teachers at the conference that week.

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Beard Stories: The moment of determination

At the Castro farmer’s market today:

The man selling hummus and other spreads held out a piece of spinach-stuffed bread with yogurt, artichoke hummus, and jalapeno sauce on it. “Free sample, sir?”

I dropped my voice half an octave. Not faking anything, just the lower end of my normal range. “Sure,” I said, taking the bread. Part of what fascinates me in my experience with my beard is what gender they guess me to be. Some days, I feel like I’m presenting a very masculine appearance – button down shirt, tits smooshed flat in a sports bra, shoulders squared, taking large steps. Sometimes I default feminine, raising my voice a few tones and turning up my sentence-ends, to appear friendly to store clerks and taxi drivers. Most days, I feel kind of neutral. I have my beard. I have my tits. I wear tshirts sometimes, button-downs sometimes, jeans most times. And in these neutral times, it seems like a toss-up what gender I’ll get read as. Not that people will necessarily be confused; that comes a few seconds later. It’s the first read that puzzles me. “Free sample, sir?” “Can I help you, ma’am?” These phrases, said with casual confidence – and often quickly corrected – give me hints at what people notice first. Sometimes it’s obvious why. When I’m slouched in the window seat, with a blanket over my chest, no wonder the stewardess calls me “sir.”
These moments are often fleeting. As soon as I ask the stewardess for a coke, my voice tips her off to her “mistake.” So, sometimes I try to extent the moment. I drop my voice a little, square my slouchy shoulders, let the ends of my sentences fall, clip my words a little bit, substitute “yeah” for a precise “yes.” I’m curious what they’ll see next. If the tits don’t tip them off, and the voice doesn’t tip them off, will they wise up to my gentle jawline, my delicate hands, my shallow brow ridge, or some subtle social cue of feminine behavior that I’m not even conscious of performing?
So much of the reading of gender is below consciousness – mine as well as theirs. So I try to slow these moments down, pay more attention, see what I can pull out.

Of course, the answer is that most of the time I can’t read the person’s mind. I can’t tell what they responded to, what they thought.

The man selling hummus doesn’t correct himself, but I can see the second look as he watches me eat the hummus, which, incidentally, is delicious.
He tells another customer about the special deal – five for the price of four – and then turns back to me. “It’s good, yes?”
“Yes. Very tasty.”
He talks me into another sample – the same stuffed bread, with butternut squash dip, hummus, and sweet and sour carrots.
As I chew, he motions stroking his chin, nods towards mine, and says, “This looks good!”
“Thanks!” I smile. A compliment always feels good.
“I like it!”
“How… How do you… How do you grow it?”
“It just grows there.”
He looked puzzled.
“It just grows there,” I repeat, “I just stopped shaving.”
“Hm. Wow,” he purses his lips and raises his eyebrows, nodding. He thinks for a moment, nods approvingly. “It looks good. I like it!”
He smiles and nods again, then goes back to discussing the merits of the lentil-curry spread with seasoned carrots. I take him up on the five for the price of four deal, getting one of everything except the jalapeno.

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Beard Stories: “That’s disgusting!”

August 2, 2008

1pm, downtown San Rafael, Marin County, CA

J (my coworker) and I are walking around downtown San Rafael, killing time as we eat ice cream and being amused at the overly quintessential American downtown neighborhood with its upscale Marin boutiques. We’re standing in front of a portrait studio, critiquing the cheesy, artsy family portraits on display.

A guy in his early to mid forties, shaved head, medium-heavy build, tall-ish, wearing a tshirt and maybe jeans walks by, passing in front of us. As he passes me, he turns to stare, pausing a step, craning his neck around to see as he walks past. When he’s a step or two past me, he exclaims, “That’s disgusting!” with a look of horror. For a second, I looked around, looking for what horrible thing he’s referring to. A few steps further on, he adds, “That was a bearded [____]” – I didn’t catch the last word, as he’d already turned his head away and was several paces down the street.

I told Dossie about it, puzzling over whether he might have been talking on a bluetooth headset or whether he was addressing the world at large, since he didn’t seem to be walking with anyone in particular. Dossie replied, “He was talking to you.”

The only other negative reaction I’ve gotten was from the one rabbi in Israel. Nothing bad when I was in New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, or even West Virginia (although I avoided strangers and wore baggy jackets when in West Virginia). I didn’t expect this in the bay area.

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Beard Story: Marriage, beards, and bigots

Beard Story from June 16, 2008

(Historical context – this was the first day that gay marriages were allowed, for the second time, in SF.)

Went down to City Hall today, to see Del Lyon and Phyllis Martin get married at 5:01pm
There was a decent-sized crowd outside – out front of city hall and across the street. The queers/ queer-friendly folks and the anti-gay christian folks were all mixed in together, with their various signs and placards. It looked like some people were going inside, but it was a little unclear whether it was an invite-only thing. Dossie asked the cop standing by the doorway if we could come in. He said, “Of course.”
Dossie pointed out to me later that she had made a point to hold onto my arm, so that she would look queer enough by association – quite a role-reversal of me coattailing her through Leather spaces.
We walked into City Hall, got through the metal detectors. It seemed like people were going upstairs, so we followed them. There were clearly a group of people with lots of cameras gathered at one end of the 2nd floor, but it looked roped off. We wandered around trying to see if from various angles, and then saw that no one seemed to be policing who got into the apparently roped off area. So, I wandered in, waiting for someone to stop me. No one did. Apparently it was open to the public.
The crowd was maybe 10 people deep from the center, so we couldn’t see a thing. There was a woman who looked like a reporter, standing on a chair so she could see better. There had been folding chairs outside the crowded area, so I went to get one, again waiting for someone to stop me. Again, no one did.
With the chair, we could see to the center of the crowd. Jacob, Dossie, and I took turns (and shared with some other people nearby) watching Gavin Newsom speak, then hearing Del and Phyllis talk to a reporter, then Gavin again, then the city attorney, then Mark Leno. Lots of cheering. The whole thing was excited and festive and alive.
Somewhere in there Del and Phyllis cut the wedding cake. They’d had the ceremony in a private room and were having a private reception elsewhere, before they took off in a limo with a “Just Married… Finally” sign on the back. When the speeches were over, 3 or 4 fags set to cutting the cake into tidy little 2″ cubes, so everyone there could have a tiny piece of the historic cake. Jacob, Dossie, and I split a piece, after Dossie said hi to a few friends of hers who were there as part of the private party with Del and Phyllis. One of these friends had been Dossie’s “older woman” lover, way back when.
The crowd was starting to disperse inside, so we wandered back outside, to see what the crowds were up to.
As Jacob, Dossie, and I exited City Hall, with Dossie and me walking arm in arm, the whole crowd outside started cheering (and the few hateful hecklers booed and shouted other things). We looked around, trying to figure out who they were cheering for. Apparently, they were cheering for us. A bunch of people took our picture as we walked out – people were lining the ramp out of city hall, nearly blocking our way as we exited. Either the crowd was just so excited they were cheering for anything, or someone didn’t get the memo that there was only one gay marriage today. We watched for a while, and the crowd seemed to be cheering anyone who left city hall who looked anything like a queer couple.

The whole thing was fabulous and exciting and sweet and momentous. The Gay Freedom Band was playing, there were many more pro-gay folks than anti-gay bigots, so the assholes’ yells got drowned out easily, although they did have bigger signs. There was a woman in a cow suit hawking free Ben and Jerry’s, and there were people holding the four poles of a rainbow chupah. And, of course, there were plenty of fabulous signs. My favorites were:
-Married heterosexuals support you
-Yay gays! (Written with a marker on notebook paper and resolutely held up in front of a huge “god hates you” sort of banner, so you couldn’t take a picture of the hateful sign without getting the friendly sign in the picture.)

We wandered the crowd, said hi to a few friends, took photos of the pro-gay signs held up in front of the anti-gay signs. We were standing by one guy with a “god hates you” sort of sign, and he started yelling how there were no gays and lesbians, there were only men and women – and presumably they should pair off accordingly. So, to prove him wrong, Dossie and started making out in front of him. He yelled, “That beard doesn’t prove you’re a man!”  Dossie, Jacob, and I cracked up.
As we walked away, Dossie commented to Jacob , “the beard might not prove it, but the dick sure does a good job of it.”
As Dossie and I walked back to the car, arm in arm, a guy said, “Congratulations! I saw you come out [of City Hall] earlier.” We thought it was sweet to be congratulated by the random public on a marriage we hadn’t even had. And that we don’t intend to have, for that matter. We seem to be doing just fine skipping right over the marriage and on to the consummating.

It was fun to be at something that felt important and historic. I live around so many people who were at events that are now part of the cultural history, and I feel like I’ve missed so much – especially so much of the good, exciting stuff. So, even if this was the second time around for Del and Phyllis to get married, it still felt like a historic big deal, and it felt good to be there.

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Baby fist full of beard

Ok, so the photo didn’t capture the baby with her teensy-tiny fingers all tangled in my beard, so you’ll just have to imagine. It was adorable. Turns out the diameter of my beard curls is just about the same as the diameter of a 4-month-old’s fingers, so her bitsy little digits kept winding their way into my beard. And when I was holding her upright, my beard was right in range of her little outstretched waving arms. When she gets a few more months of muscle on her, that tugging on my chin will get painful. For now, it’s amusing, feels about the same as having my beard tightly braided, and is far better than when the baby steals my glasses off my face.

p.s. This is one of my favorite websites!

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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.

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

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