Like any young male, I relished any facial hair I could grow and kept some semblance of it on my chin and along my sideburns thinking that this growth helped me look older and more distinguished.
It never worked. And, in fact, it turned out that having facial hair wasn’t always the best way to go in professional settings.
Unless you’re a cop, an actor, a pirate, or James Harden, facial hair doesn’t really go with your vocation.
This month, however, a group of my co-workers and I are growing out our facial hair during November, now known as Movember – which has turned into a great worldwide campaign to raise awareness for men’s health.
See, both of my grandfathers died from cancer and my dad has had it twice. I know I’m going to get it someday so doing little things like this, hopefully by the time I get it, there will have been enough donations and research through efforts like this that cancer will be as simple to treat as a sore throat.
Doc, I’ve got cancer.
Take two of these and call me in the morning.
Growing out my beard has been an interesting experiment in manliness, though, I’ve got to admit. It’s been 20 days and I look like I could have been stranded for about six months and arrived at this site by raft.
I joke that criminals do it wrong because they should grow out a beard for a few months while planning their escapades and then after a heist immediately shave. No one would be searching for a freshly shaven face – they’d be looking for a guy with a beard. Didn’t anyone watch The Fugitive?
Too bad I’ve got a conscious. I stole a pack of baseball cards when I was 10 and felt so guilty by the time I got to the car, I had taken them out of my pocket and left them in the parking lot. That seemed like the better option than throwing them away, or worse, bringing them all the way home.
Being a ginger also allows me to believe that I’m either a plaid shirt away from being a lumberjack, or a buried treasure away from recreating the life of Redbeard the pirate.
The thing is that I’ve kind of fallen into a good relationship with my beard. I put conditioner in it while showering and I run lotion through it during the day to keep it soft.
Unlike in my early days of rampant testosterone where I felt any growth added depth to a person, a beard now feels like I need a pipe and a tumbler with a single malt in it. Or that I should be brewing beer in the Pacific Northwest and acting like a hipster. I feel like I should have many leather bound books and my house should smell of rich mahogany.
My beard should have its own Twitter handle.
It will be gone in a few days, this terrific thatch of growth on the gorgeous canvas I call my face. But every time I stroke my chin like a theorist deep in thought, or ask my daughter to rub daddy’s face, or admire my well-groomed, non-homeless look for an extra moment in the mirror, it reminds me that what I’m doing is for a good cause and didn’t start the way most beards do – out of pure laziness.
If you’d like to support my efforts you can by donating here.
I mean, you don’t really want to root for cancer do you? It’s like cheering for Kim Kardashian to actually break the Internet.