Facial Hair

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Thursday, July 3. 2008 in Personal

I've had facial hair (a beard and mustache, henceforth just called "a beard") for a long time. A real long time. Something like 30 years. I first started growing it in my senior year of high school. Facial hair of any kind was forbidden at Archbishop Curley (my school), but I was able to convince my dermatologist to write a note excusing me from this rule, due to "skin irritation when shaving". There was some truth to that. But the real truth was, I wanted to grow a beard. The note worked. It also worked when I got a new college job, which also did not allow facial hair. I never understood stupid rules like that so, in addition to simply wanting to have a beard, I also felt like a rebel, and bucking the system. I wanted a beard because, well, I thought (and still do) that I looked better with one. It gave my face that quality called "character." Back then, any sort of facial hair was rare, mostly mustaches if anything, so it made me feel somewhat unique but also helped define my jawline, which I always felt was too weak. Over the last 30 years, I've only shaved it off once. Maybe 15-18 years ago Eileen decided she really wanted to see what I looked like without one. So I shaved it off (such is love!). She liked it. I hated it. I grew it back (love has its limits after all!). Since then I've switched between full beards and goatees (presently I'm in full-beard mode). Sometimes I let it go a little longer, and sometimes I keep it very trimmed, almost like stubble. This reminds me of another good reason for beards: you can skip shaving for a day or so and it still looks OK. Even so, I've never been able to have it fill in as much as I'd like. For example, my cheeks don't fill in much, so I tend to keep my "full beard" focused on around the jawline and chin. When I started going gray (I didn't go gray early, but I did go sooner than I expected... I guess I started in my mid 30s), it took awhile for my beard to catch up. I used to be a light brown (back in the day, it was called "dirty blonde"... I can't recall the last time I heard that phrase, but it used to be a common description), but now am mostly gray, both on top as well as my beard. I don't mind; it gives my face character.

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