Right now I'm wearing a two week growth of beard. No doubt, with my balding pate, a beard might improve my general appearance. A beard, they say, takes one's concentration away from the bald pate and presents a more balanced image for those concerned about baldness.
Well, at my age, I'm not so much concerned about "image" anymore…the two weeks growth of beard is simply laziness; an aging rebellion against the pull of the electric shaver and the scrape of razor on sensitive skin. But, this beard will soon be gone. The Air Force long ago ruined me for any chance of sporting a beard. In those "hairy" seventies I was a fledging Airman who, by regulation, was not allowed to participate…no long sideburns, no long hair, and the only facial hair permitted was a small mustache.
Now the problem with a mustache is that the Air Force would not permit the mustache to extend beyond the farthest edge of your lip. For some, with a wide mouth, the mustache could be a fine thing indeed. However, for folks like me, who have a rather small mouth, the only mustache possible was a Hitler like thing that looked absurd.
Oh, I tried to push it several times. I grew some pretty impressive mustaches...but inevitably one of my bosses would utter a not so gentle reminder that my mustache was not within regulatory dimensions, so off came the mustache.
As I got a bit older I finally settled on clean shaven…and largely that's the way it has been since I retired from the Air Force. Ironically, after I began living and working in Saudi Arabia, facial hair was quite popular in that culture and I grew a beard a few times to try it out for size. Alas, after six weeks or so that scratchiness on my neck drove me back to the razor time and time again. Ruined by that damned Air Force again and again!
So now I sit here in my dotage, a rich and thick crop of beard, not Gabby Hayes worthy, but impressive just the same…and I know within a few days the beard goes. And, sigh…while I'm shaving, I'll go ahead and trim the nose hair and the rich forestry of ear hair that plagues us older fellas…even as it recedes from the top………what a joke our creator plays on old men like me.