So the time has come for me to make a change. I know some people won’t like it, and some will, but it’s not up to them. I am doing this for me. Some might think it’s stupid, and some will consider it distinguished. Some will think it’s a fad, and some will notice a character adjustment. But no matter what people think, I am doing it. Week one is already in the books, and I am on my way.
That’s right readers, I am growing a beard. For many years, as long as I can remember shaving, I have wanted to try to grow a beard. When I first was able to grow anything on my face, it itched like crazy after a few days and I would shave it off. Eventually, in college, I settled on the goatee look. My chin and around my mouth was the only part I could stand to not shave, where it wouldn’t drive me nuts. My cheeks and my neck would itch, and break out with ache and rashes, so I just stopped trying. Even when I did try, itching and all, it just looked like crap. My cheeks came in all uneven and it wasn’t worth it.
Now I am older, wiser, more patient, and more disciplined. My wife doesn’t like the stage between clean-shaven and the roughness right before I shave again, since I only shave like twice a week. I should shave every day to keep it smooth, but I just hate doing it. So since she hates the in between stage, and I would rather not shave at all, she mentioned just letting it grow out. She has been used to the goatee, so now I just need to add the cheeks, and fill in under the chin and around the mouth and jaw line. I considered it after she said it, and I decided to give it a go one more time, but this time, for real, whatever it takes. I started to do research on the subject and found out that all the symptoms from my previously failed attempted are natural. There are steps that I must go through before I can get to my goal. The itching is natural, but temporary. Just like my goatee, which itched at first and not does not, the rest of the beard is the same way. I must get through a few weeks of itching, and then it will stop. Temporary discomfort for long-term gratification. The unevenness is also common at the start. I must be patient and let it grow. I need to be strong, hide my razors, clip my fingernails, and get some beard oil to help with the itching. I can do this. It itches now, not so much on my cheeks, but on my neck especially. I would go ahead and shave my neck, but the professionals warn against that at the beginning. They say just let it ALL grow for a month, and then define the neck line. That way, I will have a better picture of the beard by then and can make a better determinant of where the neck line should be for maximum visual appeal and anti-eye-soarness. This is a test, for myself. It’s a challenge, to resist the urge to scratch, or shave it off.
I can’t remember the exact day I shaved last, but it was sometime last week, maybe before we went out last Thursday night. It’s Friday today, so it’s been a week, give or take a few days. I started with my goatee already on my face, so last night, just to even the odds a little, I trimmed the goatee to the lowest setting on my trimmers, an eight inch. My goatee is still longer than my cheeks, but just barely. And I know, since it’s used to growing, it will probably grow faster anyways, and be even more ahead of my cheeks in a few days. But as of now, I am done grooming it. The experts say just to leave it alone for a month and then start to shape and smooth it out, so that is what I will do. Three more weeks to go. By then, then itching stage should be done, and hopefully it will be coming in pretty evenly.
They also recommend that you start this process at the beginning of a long vacation, so you don’t look like crap going to work while not grooming your facial experiment. Luckily, I don’t work in the public eye, nor do I have a business casual type dress code where I have to be properly dressed and groomed. I do want to look nice, but it’s summer, and everyone in the office is letting loose. There are sandals, shorts, baseball caps, T-shirts. One guy even wears those Vibram 5-Fingers Fitness shoes around the office. It’s an engineering office, with engineers, technicians, and managers, so anything goes pretty much. If anyone asks, I will tell them to just give me a few weeks and my face will look better. The best part is that my boss is on vacation for 2 weeks. This is the end of his first week gone. I won’t see him again until I am well into my third week of this. Not that he will care anyways, but still. There are a few beards around the office, including my boss’s boss, so hopefully he will understand my condition.
So if I am correct in my thinking, that last Thursday was my last shave, then I need to leave my face completely alone until August 18, 2011, or 4 weeks. This is day 8, so I have 20 days left. I can do that. No problem. Wish me luck. I will keep you updated on my progress.