9 September, 2002 at 2:40 pm (benjamin)

Poll results screencapDO I KEEP THE BEARD? — Considerations and Stipulations:

1. I start work tomorrow after a three week break and an 18 day period of not shaving.

2. I teach at a High School, so my beard — despite my scant genetic ability to follicate successfully — will be better than that of any of my students. However, I should still endeavor to look professional.

3. My family generally seem to like it. I anticipate that my students will hate it and my colleagues won’t give a damn. I have no friends who are local enough to speak their minds, as the most vocal opponent is in Thailand.

4. I haven’t changed my look in a long, long time. And I’m not ready to cut off the ponytail.

5. Further reading: Martian Love Fest, including an excerpt from Cryptonomicon about beards.

6. The popular consensus of this forum will not necessarily affect my decision.

7. Trust me when I say that there is no one who takes a personal interest in the scratchiness quotient of my face.

8. I would hate it if I turned into one of those people who is forever absently or musingly stroking his facial hair as if making a ridiculous attempt to smooth it out. Euuch.

9. I fear that the fact that I can’t grow any moustache across my filtrim will become laughably apparent and evidence a great sculptural faux pas.

10. I think the photograph with the beard makes me look older. I don’t think that illusion carries over into the daily animation of life.

11. I took five pictures with the webcam before I was satisfied with the beard picture. That might mean something.

12. Tangent: I like how the bookcase in the background is completely different, even though it’s the same square footage of the same wall.

13. The first word that springs to mind for you may be “unkempt”, but the word I’ve been getting all day from students is “satanic”.

14. I went on a huge, ill-advised DVD splurge this weekend (I had a 20% off coupon at BORDERS), and I ended up picking up two DVDs that I should be slightly ashamed to own. I am slightly ashamed, but my professed love for bitter romantic comedies is well-documented, so I might as well own up. Anyway, I picked up a copy of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY… for $10.

Harry grows a beard about halfway through the film. This is done for three reasons:

    1. In order to differentiate between the earlier two “ages” of Harry, age 21 and age 24. The beard is supposed to make him look older.
    2. In order to show that he is depressed. People who are in a funk grow beards, the film says, because they no longer care about things like person appearance. It is at this point in the film that Harry is also seen wearing jeans with frequency, and generally looking rumpled. This is to contrast Sally’s seeming even-keeled response to her breakup, producing no evident doldrums.
    3. So that he can shave it off later and Sally can say, “I like you without the beard.”

15. The moustache ends — my students are calling it “the anti-moustache” or “the reverse moustache” as it is all tips and no middle, as if I’m selling scraps of facial hair to Hitler — are now long enough to dip in whatever I am drinking. I hate this.

16. Culturally typical responses to someone with a new beard include the following: You/He look older/more distinguished/more mature/handsomer. None of these apply to me. I somehow manage only to look more somber and troubled. Yay.


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