I’ve done a number of different things since March to address the boredom and monotony of laying low while the virus raged, and one of those things concerned my appearance. When it became obvious that we were in this for the long haul, I vowed that I wouldn’t cut my hair or shave until the ordeal was over.
While I had visions of growing a beard that would have fit right in with those worn by Confederate Generals during the Civil War, I relented after about two months because K couldn’t stand it, and even I had to admit that it looked gnarly and needed a trim. That’s what happens when one’s facial hair has the texture and feel of steel wool.
That wasn’t the case with my hair, but I ultimately had to get a trim in July because while I enjoyed the curls and the long locks, it not only had become unmanageable, but was growing faster and longer on the sides of my head compared to the top, which gave me a mad-scientist kind of look.
I got the hair trimmed a second time a few weeks ago, but am still trying to figure out a way where I can keep it long without having it look like a mullet. The beard, on the other hand, bit the dust shortly thereafter.
The truth is, I had never intended to make it permanent, and was getting annoyed with the constant trimming and nurturing it took to keep it looking reasonably good, so I made the impulsive decision to get rid of it. Perhaps it was because K’s mom said I looked like Father Time, or maybe I rationalized by saying the election results served as a symbolic turning point in the virus saga. Regardless of the reason, I marched into the bathroom, retrieved my trusty trimmer, and hacked it off.
The experience was a little traumatic because I have not been completely clean shaven for at least ten years, and for most of my adult life I have had either a mustache or mustache and goatee. So when the deed was done and I didn’t recognize the face looking back at me in the mirror after studying it for a few minutes, I noticed four things.
The first was that the skin on my face was a soft and smooth as the proverbial baby’s bottom. The second was my face felt like it was in a caught in a cold breeze. The blanket that had covered it for eight months was gone, and it took about three days before my skin adjusted to the external air temperatures.
The third thing and best thing was that I looked ten years younger. Facial hair has a tendency to make you look older (which is why I grew a mustache my junior year in high school to prevent from getting carded), and facial hair that is mostly white, no matter how good it looks, definitely ages you. So looking like a person who was closer to fifty than in his early sixties was a definite bonus.
But the one thing that caught me completely off guard was my hair. I knew I was greying before I started the beard, but sometime within the last eight months it didn’t simply get greyer, it had become very white. The change, quite frankly, was shocking.
I suppose I hadn’t noticed it because every time I brushed my teeth, or shaved the parts of my face where the beard wasn’t growing, I never paid attention to the hair, other than the fact that it was getting unruly. Instead, my eyes always seemed to lock onto the beard. That focus changed when the white from my face disappeared, because now there was only one place where I saw white. That was on my head, and it wasn’t subtle.
I have no idea when the color changed from salt and pepper to mostly salt, but it doesn’t matter. Whether it be the stress of the past year, genetics or a combination of both, I’m turning into my mother in that regard. That is not a bad thing because while her hair turned completely white in her early sixties, like mine seems to be doing, it was a striking look and she wore it well. Plus she had a full head of luxurious white hair up until the day she passed at the age of 92. I should be so lucky.
It will be interesting to see how long it will take for the last spec of color to disappear from my scalp. I don’t remember when Mom’s stopped coloring her hair and went with the snowy owl look, but I know I do know it was that way when she was 64, because that is how old she was when I was married and the wedding pictures don’t lie.
The day will come in the near future where the color will completely disappear. But I could care less as long as I have something covering my scalp. You see, I have a large head and very white skin, and combining that with no hair or beard will make my head look like an albino pumpkin. Should that day come, it’s a good bet the beard will make a comeback, and maybe then I won’t care how long it grows.
Note: You may not see any posts from me the rest of 2020. I need to get started on the second novel, and can’t seem to devote time to that and the blog. I’ve been putting it off for weeks now, and am truly unmotivated. But I like the concept in my head and think it will work, but have no idea whether the words will flow or if the experience will feel like I’m swimming in caramel. Time will tell. So assuming this will be my last entry for 2020, may you all have a wonderful, peaceful and healthy holiday season.