Note: This post was originally written before I decided to convert my entire website from Website Baker to WordPress. The old website had a picture from my pre-beard days, hence the opening paragraph.
Excellence Oozing From My Pores
So, if you have been following any of my various social media accounts, you have probably noticed something dangling from my face that isn’t on my main website. (If not, there’s a picture reference either to the left or directly above this post.) Okay… that “something” is actually an extraterrestrial alien creature with hundreds of thousands of probosces burrowing subcutaneously into my skull. The doctors have assured me that despite what friends and family believe, the creature is in fact benign and poses no danger whatsoever of attaching to my nervous system and taking control of my higher cerebral functions. Clearly, it is benevolent. I mean… It tastes everything I put into my mouth just to make sure that people out there aren’t trying to poison me. That’s love!
As of right now, my chinsulation is approximately two years, four months, and ten days old. We celebrated its second birthday on May 2, 2015 with a piano recital. Since then, I have actually trimmed it back about two inches. (Yeah… Spare me the shock, people. None of you even noticed when I did it!)
The response to the beard has been about as I expected. Some people shrug and go about their business. (A perfectly acceptable response.) Others have expressed their utter disgust and indignation and have never missed an opportunity to remind me of their displeasure. (I admit that it amuses me.) Then, of course, there are those people with similar afflictions to my own who greet me with a high five, a fist bump, and a shout at the top of their lungs: “YEAH! THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, BROTHER!” I would be remiss not to acknowledge the disappointed observers lingering tearfully in the background who desire but are afraid to release the brilliance from within their skin. I would say that I feel their pain, but in reality, the majesty of my chinfro has long numbed me to such empathetic feelings.
I often get asked why I chose to let my beard grow out. Sure, I could pretend that this was a mystical spiritual journey in search of a masculinity that had been suppressed by society and that I was finally embracing myself as God had meant for me to be or invent something similarly sexy, but that would be a romanticized bold-faced lie. The stimulus behind it was actually financial… and possibly a little laziness on my part.
In 2013, I got lazy with the razor and let it go for two weeks because I didn’t want to bother with it. Then, I went to go visit my sister in Nashville and accidentally forgot my razor altogether. I was too cheap to buy another one (and the blades), so I just let it keep going. As “luck” would have it when I got home, one of my brothers “borrowed” my last unused razor blade while I was away. Empty razor. So, I had to buy razor blades… which were over $20… knowing my brother would probably “borrow” a couple of them again. Fuck that. I needed to keep gas in my car, so Mr. Gillette took a back seat. Then, I decided that I kind of liked what was happening to my face. Next thing I knew, two more months had passed and I had no desire whatsoever to give Mr. Gillette any more of my money. By then, I set the scissors aside and just let the awesomeness ooze out from my chin.
I could sit here and go through all the various mistakes and things I learned while the chinfro took control, but that means little when I can just brush my hand across it and be soothed by its magical powers. If I had to do it all over again, I’d have never trimmed my mustache back about a year into it. (I didn’t like how it came out.) Since then, I’ve grown to love it even more and have no problem with the good-natured ribbing and the occasional “THAT’S GROSS” I still get. At this point, I already got my driver’s license renewed, which means that I’m committed to it at least until 2018. Given that I’m a fairly large (fat) Black man with an Arabic name who tends to put people off with my social ineptitude, I’d be an idiot not to look like my ID.
While “laziness” may have been cited as a factor in deciding to grow the beard, the reality is that I have to maintain it just like the hair on top of my head. You wake up with “bedhead”? Well, I’ve got “bedhead” and “bedbeard.” If I took a picture of the drooly side, you’d have nightmares for weeks. I’m Black – I know… shocker – which means I can’t win for trying. If I wash it too often, it will get dry. If I don’t wash it enough, I’ll get dandruff on my chin. I have to watch out mundane things such as coat zippers and seatbelts. Ice cream, hamburgers, and potato cheese soup are also known as “beard conditioners” and require an eye to watch out for stray piece of onion. If I blow my nose, I always wonder if the tissue missed a clump of my mustache stuck together by mucus. Of course, I’ve also got one of those beards that over time likes to go separate ways in the middle. (I’ve made peace with that.) “Laziness” may have got it started, but keeping it is certainly more tedious than scraping my skin.
Just how far will I let it go? I don’t know. Whenever I get sick of it, if that ever happens. For now, though… Winter’s coming and I know my face is going to be just fine.