Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Beard: Not a real project

I have tried three official projects since Brightcape started up.  The first two which were to read the Bible and go around barefoot for a summer were completed and I would call them successes; I did what I set out to do and learned a bunch in the process.  The cheese project was a total failure as I have not learned to like cheese and am not making any noticeable attempt to stay on schedule.  I want to have a project to talk about but my latest thing simply isn't project worthy - I am going to grow a gigantic beard.  The updates for this theoretical project would go something like "Beard 2 millimeters longer, morale is good but food residue is a problem" and that isn't much of a post.

Ever since I was 16 or so I have had a goatee.  I chopped it off twice in the intervening years but grew it back right away; by this point it is as much a part of me as my ears.  As in, if it were gone it would be really weird but I could still go on with my life.  Lately I have been attempting to go ZZ top and just grow the goatee extremely long but I seem to have a real issue with doing so in that I am a fidgeter.  I noticed this first when I looked down at my desk right in front of my keyboard and found a bunch of tiny bits of hair a couple millimeters long.  I couldn't figure out what was up with it until I realized that the bits were right below my chin and I had spent much of the day tugging at my beard while I wrote and thought.  Now that I actually consider it I constantly twist, pull, rearrange and style my beard while doing other things... it has replaced fidgeting with a pen or bouncing my leg as my twitch of choice.  Beard strokery while thinking is an old and well respected process of course and now that I have enough beard to do so properly the desire to engage in beard strokery constantly is nearly undeniable.  Growing out the goatee is a fairly seamless process though compared to growing the rest of the beard which follows some strange steps.

Really unshaven
Itchy itchy oh my goodness must SHAVE NOW!
Really bad beard
Poor beard that is enough of a beard to make fun of but not good enough to admire
Mediocre beard
Good beard

On my first attempt I had just gotten to Ugly when I had to go to a funeral.  There was a terrible internal struggle between my desire to look good and avoid family issues and my desire to refuse to moralize on the amount of hair on my face.  In the end I shaved, though not without some remorse.  I have gotten back to Ugly again and I must say that going through Itchy itchy twice in a month is not a course I recommend - if you are going for a beard you need to go whole hog.

There are some unanswered questions.  First, is Wendy really serious when she says that she is going to braid my beard?  Second, what do I do about the border between the beard and my hair?  I like to keep my hair buzzed really short and I want to grow an enormous beard so how do I handle the transition?  I have seen people with shaved heads and big beards and it looks quite strange... a tricky conundrum.


  1. The answer to the first question is: Yes, provided it gets long enough.

    As for the second...I think you might just have to grow your hair.

  2. I think you'll just need to get your hair cut by someone who knows enough to make the transition look good. This is why our society has experts.

  3. It might actually be impossible to have your beard be longer than your hair and have it look good. Possible exception for shaved head / biker beard combo.

  4. Further danger - google image search for "long beard short hair" turned up multiple Aquaman references. You have been warned.