Monday, November 24, 2008

Follicle Holiday

When I was a sophomore in high school, I started to grow facial hair. Being an October child, I was younger than my class so I knew of the inevitable a year a head of time. I opted to go into theater that next winter instead of being on the wrestling team— not because I did not want to shave, but because I was better at it than wrestling… though I did tell some people that was the reason. When I did finally shave, I never touched my mustache and goatee because I liked the look. I managed to not have to be fully shaven for rolls that I played until I was nineteen and was playing Tony in West Side Story.

One could argue that because I was the same age as the character that I did not need to shave— but the director would not have it, he insisted that I be clean shaven. I held off as long as I could until dress rehearsal at which time I shaved off my goatee and half of my mustache to see if anybody noticed— nobody did. It felt very strange… mostly because my upper lip was sensitive— but it also made me think that my cheeks looked bigger.

After that point, I decided that I should grow a beard during the winter months. I opted to start growing my beard during Thanksgiving break so that I would not be looking like my (fictitious) long lost uncle Don, and would have a noticeable beard by the time I returned to class. I then decided to shave everything off on Valentines day— mostly because it is about the same distance from the new year as Thanksgiving, but also to be kind to the "ladies". I then start growing my mustache starting around Saint Patrick's Day and keep it until the cycle repeated itself in November.

I kept this cycle up for many years, even after I met my wife. I do not know why I decided to do a full shave on my birthday and be fully shaven until Thanksgiving— probably to look younger… but I do that as well. It must be very confusing to my wife, because many times when I forget to shave she inquires of me… "what follicle holiday is this?"— to which I must confess to her that I just neglected to shave.

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