Friday, 16 October 2009

'Tache back

In times of crisis, when I really don't know what the hell I'm going to write about here with time a-ticking, I turn to an old friend for inspiration. An old friend who adorns the mouth area of my face. Yes, I'm talking about my beard.

To refer to facial hair as a friend may seem a little over-the-top, but, when I think about it, it's not entirely unwarranted. My beard is celebrating its fifth anniversary around now as I first began growing it soon after turning 20 (I think it was a combination of no longer being a teenager and the disruption, both mental and geographical, of beginning university). That means that, aside from one or two times within those five years, my beard has been there for almost a fifth of my time on this planet. That's a fair chunk of my life.

And in those rare times when I've elected to try life sans whiskers, I really haven't liked it. I find it strange to see my own face staring back at me in the mirror with my beard missing. I even feel quite different in myself, as if I've chosen an alternative appearance for some sinister purpose. My chin always feels too cold as well in times of beardlessness. Yes, my beard has definitely become a part of my identity. When removed, or even trimmed down to keep it under control in times of necessary tidiness, people I know have even on several occasions asked me where my "trademark" beard has gone. For a simple choice not to shave to become something that defines who I am, even become what people see me as, is a pretty hefty thing to carry with me. It's a pretty hefty idea to actually comprehend in some ways too.

So there we have it, my beard is actually slowly taking over who I am. I have ways of keeping it subservient however. A couple of days ago I chose to remove my moustache (transforming it from a Van Dyke to a true goatee for all you beard-watchers out there); in the past I have changed its width on my chin, its length, choosing whether to have the goatee and moustache joined up or not, and once or twice even just having the 'tache flying solo (although the cold chin issue came up again). So in that way, it will never truly take over. It makes sure I still feel in control, whilst also giving me the opportunity to select from some minor variations on my face. But maybe one day I'll want such a change as I did five years ago and remove it entirely, exposing my chin to the world once again. But I hope not.

1 comment:

TheTelf said...

Do the kids notice the changes in facial topiary?