I'm growing a beard. Again. I do it anywhere from three to five times a year. It starts the same way in that I skip shaving on a work-day (I stopped shaving on weekends eons ago); this one isn't necessarily one of those "I stopped on Monday" kind of beards.
Whenever the mood moves me, wenn ich kein bock mehr hab dann reichts, I stop shaving. I think I've mentioned before in this space I regard shaving like mowing the lawn. No matter how wonderfully it's accomplished, you have to do it again. And in my case, neither effort is especially exquisitely executed in the first place.
I stumble along unshaven for a couple of days in that Yasser Arafat not quite a beard but no longer stubble look (how did he keep it looking like that? And why?) and then I start to shave the area around my upper cheeks, carving out a whisper if not rumor of a shape, and also shaving my neck upwards towards my chin and cheeks.
I'm the most surprised person on earth (or in my skin) when the beard comes in each time with more gray hairs than the last time. I'm not quite sure why I'm sort of disappointed. What little hair I have on my head is gray, and I'm old. Should I forget either of those points, all I need do is look in the mirror on work-day mornings and confront the ugly truth.
I recently bought revitalizing 'beard oil' from The Cremo Company Mens' Beard Line. You thought I had made that up, didn't you? You should be ashamed after all we've been through (this is where I'm allowed to say 'not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin' and mean it). I hadn't realized hirsute was a growth industry until I saw the stuff on the shelf, at a price per ounce approaching something else I long ago used to purchase with the same unit of measurement.
I cannot and should not expect miracles. I know what the stuff has to work with and in light of the lowered expectations (sounds like the title of a Lifetime Channel movie, doesn't it?) I now have based on the reality we share, I guess I am pleased.
Perhaps my hearing is going as I've aged because I no longer seem to hear quite so many murmurings as I pass people in the grocery aisle about 'that poor fellow, having to sleep under a rail trestle in this cold weather.' Which is for the best, because almost all the really good street corners are taken.