I left my razor in a hotel room in Virginia almost six weeks ago. Since then, I’ve put off getting a new one, half out of laziness, half out of curiosity. My facial hair not only grows at a glacial pace, but it does not come in robustly. I distinctly remember attempting to grow out a goatee in college, and about two weeks into the grand experiment, I shaved because that in-between stage between clean shaven and having the facial hair you want is a scraggly-ass looking face. In my mother’s words:
“You weren’t raised by pickpockets in an alley. Go shave.”
So, after losing my razor, I just said, “Fuck It” and decided to give facial hair an actual adult try. At two weeks, I was at that in-between stage, and going out in public was a tough proposition. At this point, the last of my fucks had been given. A lot of awful circumstances had been hovering over my life, and I was at a point where I couldn’t care less. So out I went, not giving a damn about how I looked.
As the mustache and goatee grew in, ever so slowly, everyone had opinions. Some people liked it, some people hated it, some people just figured that I was trying something. I guess it’s pretty telling that no one loved it. For some reason, at this point, I just couldn’t care, forget about my appearance, just about what people thought in general. It’s liberating in a way, you start to simply do whatever you want, and you let the niceties and details just slip off into the side. To actually not care, to not be beholden to anyone, and then you kind of remember that, oh yeah, you actually aren’t beholden to anyone. That means that no one cares about you, and at the same time you don’t care about anyone.
There’s an allure to that life, and I’m not gonna lie, a part of me enjoyed it. It also attracts certain type of people, and that was fun for a little too. But then one day, I finally looked into the mirror and I didn’t recognize the guy looking back. Yeah, the facial hair was a little trip, but it was more than that. It was as if my parallel self from a darker timeline switch places with me. The goatee definitely made the contrast a little stark, but I knew that for those six weeks, that wasn’t the real me. As much fun as it was to escape my reality for a little and experiment, I know who I am. I divorced myself from who I know I should be because I didn’t want responsibility for a little bit. I wanted to believe that I could avoid the burdens that I had to bear, that I could somehow re-invent myself to be someone who could just live another sort of life. I know who I am, who I want to be, and even though I fail at getting there most days, I know my path going forward.
So that night, I ordered a new razor with one day shipping from Amazon, that’s how badly I wanted it, I had Prime, and I still went with one day. As soon as it came next afternoon, I used the clippers first, then shaved my face clean. My goodness, as soon as I did that, I looked ten years younger, I stood up straighter, and I actually felt like myself. When I looked in the mirror again, I recognized the eyes staring back. Those eyes judged me for being a coward for a month and half, but they were also glad to see me back. If you don’t recognize the man looking back at you in the mirror that should be your wake-up call.
So, now I just have to clean up about six weeks worth of responsibilities. But most importantly, I realized that clean shaven for me is the way to go. Gotta run with the genes that keep me having a babyface. What can I say, mom’s usually right.