By Joe Darby
It’s one of those things that guys just have to do. Well, most of the time.
Our genes and our male hormones make it so. We have facial hair and if we’re not to look like total cavemen, we have to do something about it.
As you are well aware, many guys these days have beards. But the great majority still shave their necks and upper cheeks. The point is, though, that every day, or almost every day, we have to put on the lather, pick up the razor and clear at least part of our faces of fuzz.
Now I’ll admit that my shaving only takes about three minutes. That’s certainly not a lot of time, but to me it gets old, having to go through the process every day, day after day.
I also realize that you ladies, most of you, go through the makeup routine daily and that takes more time than shaving. And you probably freshen up the makeup several times throughout the day. So I know that guys are not the only gender with annoying rituals that we must perform. (And let me say here that most of us guys do appreciate your efforts with makeup. Y’all look really nice!)
Perhaps I get irritated (no pun intended) at the daily shave simply because it’s something I must do. Oh, I do skip a day now and then, if I’m not going anywhere, but that just means that when I finally do shave, it makes for a much more scratchy ordeal.
Funny that I’m tired of shaving now, because, like most lads, when my whiskers started to grow and I needed to start shaving, I felt like I was really becoming a MAN! I was probably about 16 at the time, a time when boys are eager to be a MAN and to be able to show it through facial hair.
When I began shaving I started using the popular Gilette safety razor of the time. After a while I tried an electric razor, which I found irritated my skin and didn’t give me a real close shave anyway. So I went back to the good old blade razor, which I’ve used ever since.
I was clean shaven until my late 20s, when I grew a mustache. Then, in 1972 I was in a pretty bad auto accident and cut my chin when my head hit the sheering wheel. (That was in the days when seatbelts were just lap belts. They stopped you from going through the windshield, but didn’t prevent your upper body from being slammed forward.)
The scar was so bad that I couldn’t shave over it and I had to grow a goatee. And once I had the goatee, I said, why not go all the way and grow a beard. So I did, and it was quite a beard if I do say so myself.
Photos of how I looked at that time are kind of embarrassing to me now. I mean, my beard was a typical 1970s beard, a fat one, sticking out like I’d just put my finger in an electrical outlet, or something. I later trimmed it into a much more neater one and I think it looked okay.
But then I decided to go back to the goatee, just covering the chin. Some folks today refer to my chin growth as a beard. I don’t bother to correct them. I suppose technically it could be called that, Anyway, because of that scar underneath, I’m pretty much stuck with the goatee for life.
And I suppose that’s all right. Nature decrees that the male of the species will have facial hair. And it’s up to us to make what we will of it.