Beard Growing: The Eternal Struggle (Originally published August 10, 2009)

True men have beards.  It makes them look distinguished.  It makes them look determined.  But most of all, it makes them look like bears.  It is for these reasons I’ve always wanted to have a beard.  However, my facial hair instead inspires visions of trailer park cuisine having sex with Jeremy Piven.

I think my love affair with face fur started when I was little.  My dad is your typical Chicago city worker: measuring in at a robust 5’9” and 140 pounds, calling friends “buddy,” and drinking Ice House.  He also had the most killer beard ever when I was a toddler.  He’d be able to spring a cheek forest up in a day and a half.  It was awesome.   He’d always tell the story about how he got suspended in seventh grade for having a full beard.  This obviously gave me all the confidence in the world that I would follow in his footsteps.

When my voice started changing at 11, I was all like, “sweet!  Here comes the beard!”  I started shaving the peach fuzz that was populating my mug and would check the mirror daily to see how it was coming along.  I thought I was making progress, but in reality I just looked like Joseph from King of the Hill.

High school came along and, with it being a private Catholic institution, I was forced by The Man to keep my lion’s mane of hair short and worst of all, stay clean shaven.  I was often told, “Rob, you really need to shave that shit” by teachers and classmates alike.  One time during my senior year I even had to go to the dean, pay a fine for having too much of a beard, and dry shave with a dollar razor supplied to me.  It was one of the proudest days of my life, profuse bleeding and all.

After graduating I got the grand idea to grow a full beard before I got to college.  A week into the plan, my jolly boss at Ace Hardware (store motto: “Home Depot has it”) said, “Rob, what the fuck?  You look like a drug addict.  Shave it or else I’m not paying you.”  And so ended my pre-college beard.

Then came my entrance into higher learning and the beard plan was back on.  I was so pumped.  I was going to be the coolest guy on campus.  Ten days in, I made out with the hottest girl on my floor and have been with her for going on two years now.  She’s great and damn near perfect, but she’s not a big fan of “Beardface Rob.”  So I keep her happy by shaving regularly and keeping it all smooth.

Finally, this summer rolled around.  I had an apartment at school and was enrolled in summer classes.  She was home in St. Louis and we weren’t going to be seeing each other much.  In fact, we’ve seen each other once.  You can probably guess my thought process here: Beard Time.  I’ve shaved approximately six times in three months.  Every time I hit the two-week mark, I just get disappointed in myself and start over.  I look like a mess.

Fear not, dear readers, for I am not giving up on my dream.  No, no, I realize one of these days my lame body chemistry will not let me down.  I will frolic in the land of the bearded and wrestle sharks and shit one of these days.  Then I’ll probably have to get a job, but for that one-week period of my life, I will be truly, irrevocably happy.


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