Since I mentioned my beard

Because I suspect you’re dying to know why I trimmed my beard after I mentioned giving it a buzz cut yesterday, take note of the weather at my house – it was 76 degrees this afternoon.

It’s early in the year, but with temperatures this warm, trimming my beard simply seemed like the right thing to do. I now look more like my social media profile pictures than I have in months.  

When I say I trimmed my beard, I mean most of it. I left my mustache and chin alone, but the rest of the hair on my face is now so short as to be negligible.

I should probably suck it up and shave, but here’s the thing – spring may SEEM to be taking hold, but trusting the weather this time of year would be like trusting our big dog Rodney not to bark maniacally when it’s time for a walk.

Better safe than sorry.

A little stubble for the time being seems like the right idea. After all, there are still several more weeks of winter on the calendar.

By the way, don’t tell my wife I wrote about my beard. She already thinks I’m too obsessed with it.

This will just confirm her suspicions.


If you’re questioning why I’m growing a beard, here’s the answer you’ve been looking for

I was beginning to think the weather would never cooperate. But it finally got cold enough this week for my new look to start paying off.

It’s about time. I’ve been eager to test what amounts to a newly rediscovered hobby against the elements.

My new pursuit fits me perfectly. I can do it while streaming my favorite TV shows, while I’m reading a book or when our giant dog Rodney insists I stir myself long enough to take him for a walk.

I can also do it while dodging deer on the commute to work, while I’m dodging other drivers on the way back home and when I’m simply taking my customary nap after a long day.

In short, I can do it anywhere I want, anytime I want.

Spring, summer or fall. But it harmonizes best with the winter season, when temperatures plunge.

I woke up Wednesday morning pleased that temperatures were so frigid even our teenagers thought twice about leaving for school without a jacket.

I had been working hard to prepare for just such an arctic blast since before the latest “Star Wars” movie hit theaters last month. In fact, I’ve been thinking of my effort as an homage to the Force.

I’ve been growing a Jedi beard.

Yes, I know. I’m embarrassing my wife, again. She’s sensible enough not to waste time obsessing about a far away galaxy. And she doesn’t like beards, especially the shaggy, unkept kind favored by Jedi Knights.

If she knew that I’m emulating a Jedi beard, I would probably get the biggest of the many eye rolls that have been directed my way over nearly 23 years of marriage.

My wife’s dislike notwithstanding, I’ve always been a beard enthusiast. I’ve been growing them for most of my adult life. But until now, I’ve generally kept things neat and tidy.

And believe it or not, I kept a close-cropped beard as much for me as for my wife. The mountain man look just wasn’t what I was after.

At least, not until I started thinking like a Jedi.

Besides, times change. Big beards have been stylish for more than a few years now. So you could say that the Jedi beard I’m growing is not only an homage, but also a nod to fashion.

The good news for my wife is that fashion changes and the new “Star Wars” movie will eventually runs its course.

The bad news is it will probably leave theaters just in time for me to get my beard ready for this spring’s premier of the even more beard-happy “Game of Thrones!”

Barbers, Beards and Christmas Gifts

My barber had just finished buzzing the top of my head when he stepped back and asked if I wanted the hair on my chin trimmed, too.

He had the same look in his eye that my wife has been giving me lately. It’s a look that asks “you’re not seriously considering going out in public like THAT are you?

My wife would like nothing better than for me to trim my beard. And for a second, I even thought she might have promised my barber double his usual fee if he could persuade me to let him take a little off the chin.

But my suspicions were eased when, after I politely declined, he shrugged and acknowledged that “a man’s got have a little wild hair somewhere.”

He still seemed disappointed, though, so I tipped him a little more than usual and chalked up his gloom to professionalism. Leaving my unruly whiskers untouched must have seemed too much like leaving part of the job undone.

Despite his apparent discomfort with letting me slip out of his shop still sprouting hair that could benefit from his scissors, I took his “wild hair” comment in a positive light. In fact, I took it as tacit, albeit grudging, acknowledgement that there is a place for facial hair enthusiasts outside of long-bearded hipsters, reality TV stars like the Duck Commander guys and well, shopping mall Santa Clauses.

While my barber’s support seemed hesitant at best (and my wife’s non-existent), I am getting more solid encouragement from other quarters. For instance, my brother and I have lately been comparing our experiences with various beard waxes, conditioners, tamers and oils. He even texted me the other day asking if I knew how long he could expect his beard to grow.

He came to me with that unusual question because I am the unofficial keeper of the family archives. The thing is, though, I had no idea how to answer him. I started exploring family history because I wanted to be able to tell our kids where they come from, not because I wanted to know more about ancestral facial hair.

I ended up telling him that none of the pictures of grandfathers, great-grandfathers and great-great grandfathers in my possession shows anyone with a big, bushy beard – that in the end, he’ll just have to discover how long his beard will get the same way I am – by growing it.

It’s been years since my brother and I have bonded over anything. We haven’t lived together since we were kids. And aside from our mutual affinity for Star Wars, we haven’t been very good at keeping in touch outside of holidays like Christmas.

That’s why I hate to tell him that I might have to get my chin hair under control, after all.

Unfortunately, I’m having trouble figuring out the perfect Christmas gift for my wife. Nothing has struck me as particularly inspired.

Since I’m clearly running out of time, I might have to give her something more personal.

I just might have to trim my beard.