Posts Tagged With: shaving

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

Beard Stories: Remedial teen boy lessons

(Originally written August 20, 2009)

Earlier this summer, I saw an listing for a part-time job managing educational programs for Sonoma State’s biological preserves. The job description pretty much listed my entire resume. It seemed perfect. Part-time, interesting, well-paid work for while I finished grad school. I applied, hopeful. Even did a ritual with Dossie, just to hedge my cosmic bets. Pondered whether or not it would be wise to shave my beard to get a job this good. Never heard anything back from the job.

Then, on a Saturday in late June, my friend L mass-emailed her friends, saying she needed someone to sublet her place, asking to borrow a car for a road trip, and that the high school where she works was looking for someone to teach one section of AP Biology. Excited, I emailed her back saying I was definitely interested in the job. On Monday morning, L passed my name to her boss and I sent in my resume. By of lunchtime, I got a request for an interview. Problem was, I was scheduled to fly to the east coast on Tuesday, to teach at leather events for 3 weeks. So I did a phone interview on Tuesday with the head of school and on Wednesday with the head of the department. Both were barely interviews at all. No hard questions, just discussion of what the school was like and a bit of chatting about my background. It pretty much seemed like I had the job. I just needed to pass an in-person interview.

When I started growing the beard, I intended to grow it for 6 weeks, while I was in between jobs. Then, I decided to keep it for the summer. Then I decided to keep it until I needed not to have it – assuming that would be when I finished grad school and applied for real jobs.

Last year, I taught one day a week in a middle school. So, I know from experience that teens, teachers, and school administrators could all be fine with my beard. But, I figured I should shave. It would suck to lose a job that was nearly mine just because of the beard. I didn’t want to shave. I’d grown to like my beard, and I resented having to hide it out of fear of not getting the job. I knew that having it would distract the interviewer from my qualifications, but I wished that wasn’t the case.

I asked different people what they thought. When I was talking to Dad about shaving, he told me that when he shaves off a beard, it takes a week for his skin to get back to normal. Having never shaved off a beard, I hadn’t even thought of that. It was fun and funny to be getting remedial lessons in teen-boy-personal-grooming. I asked D, and I asked friends. I asked L what she thought, since she knows the school. The consensus seemed to be that I should shave. A new friend who’s inclined to the woo offered a quick divination on the matter. I pulled a rune, which he said represented “rapid change.”

I’d thought about trying to have some fun with the shaving, but the priority turned out to be getting me shaved as quickly and smoothly as possible so that my skin wouldn’t be visibly irritated at the interview. G suggested I call M, who was raised by a barber and a beautician and was a natural with a razor. So, with the benefit of M’s shaving experience, I asked Dossie to pick up a Mach 3 safety razor and Edge shave gel so I could shave as soon as I flew home on Sunday night. Airline delays ensued, and I didn’t get home until Monday morning. The interview was scheduled for Tuesday morning.

(To be continued.)

Categories: Beard Stories, bearded lady, bearded woman, Family, Negative | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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