We are 5 days into the month of November, better known as “No Shave November” to most young people, or “Movember” if you are particularly aware of people raising awareness about men’s health/you think “Mo” is short for mustache for some reason. I am participating in No Shave November, growing out my beard from scratch. I had also participated in the lesser-known “No Shave September” and “No Shave October,” but I had to shave my mustache (which was my favorite part of my beard–I would catch myself playing with it anytime I wasn’t already doing something with my hands) in order to complete my Halloween costume: Hipster Abraham Lincoln.
To complete this ironic president, I wore a stovepipe hat, fake thick-rimmed glasses, a plaid skinny tie (which I actually do wear…oops), my great grandfather’s suspenders (isn’t that what hipsters wear when they get married/engagement photos taken?), my friend Sarah’s jeans, and sneakers (which I wear every day anyway). It was a fun costume, but it took some explaining usually. “Are you a hipster?” “Are you Abe Lincoln?” “Are you a nerd?” Rarely were the first two assumptions put together initially (the third of course is correct, but I don’t need a costume for that). Everything became a little clearer when I got into character:
“Slavery is soooo mainstream.”
“You know, Sufjan has written about me.”
“I was telling the truth before it was cool.”
“Have you heard of Harriet Tubman? Yeah, she’s pretty underground.”
Anyway, once Halloween was over, and I removed my hat and glasses, I was just a dude who looked like he lacked the ability to grow a mustache and was too lazy to shave his thick chinstrap. I looked like an upset Amish dude on Rumspringa. So the rest of the beard had to go.
This was the first real beard I had ever grown. It had been this glorious and self-made mask which implied maturity and authority to my students, and I loved it, even though it partially hid my adorable dimples. But it was time to let my phoenix beard (and my beard is red, for some reason) rise from the ashes of my newly smooth face, so I took an electric razor in one hand, a regular razor in the other, put on “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John, and destroyed my 2-month old baby, whose name, by the way, is Patchrick.
It’ll be back. It’s on its way right now. I can see it climbing back through my face follicles like Hercules climbing Olympus to meet Zeus. So it’ll be here soon. And hopefully not so red this time.