If you have known me for a year or more you know that most of the time my head and face are shaved. Last year I grew a beard for 5 months then shaved due to a romantic thing. The romantic thing is still on but she says with a laugh she loves me beard or no beard. ME. ME INSIDE. Which is what many do not see.

Many men tinker with their beards. They do topiary. Pruning it and shaping it. ME? At this time I just let it grow. I DO shave my head once in a while for contrast.

Reactions to the beard are amusing. Some are genuinely INSULTING. Such as the former owner of my company. Ripped into me for having it. Oh the company salesman said it made me look, “old”. Um hey Bob? I AM OLD!

My boss joked about how unsanitary it is. I make jokes about it now. Such as how eating crunchy corn cheese snacks, the cheese sticks to the hairs around my mouth. Orange hair 😉 Oh and have to beware of melted cheese and peanut butter! Or ice cream. Ice cream is the best. Eat ice cream, don’t wash mouth and taste ice cream for hours!

I find it fun to make faces with my hairy face now. I can be a wild crazy man or… “HEY LOOK! IT’S Santa Claus !”. I may buy a red hat for that…

For many years I was in denial of age. Trying to look young by being clean shaven. Shaving takes YEARS off how you look! I get tired of it. Shaving my head makes me feel bold. A statement. Strong! I embrace playing the part of the “old man” now. I had fun with being young and so now I have fun with being “old”. It makes me think of how age is truly a thing of mind and … HUMOR. My body disagrees but I am talking about the age inside us.

My beard is my disguise.
The bush I grow on my face to hide behind then laugh at the world from behind it or hide behind it hoping the world will not see what emotions my face would show beneath the hair.

The bearded experience is also a learning experience for me. Learning to look at people and not make-up stories about them. I do not KNOW “THEM”. The real THEM inside. How they look may be just a beard to them.

I have always felt I had a “soft” looking face. Too sensitive and open – as I am. With the beard, an edge it. Hairy Creampuff 😉

How we look is our identity in some ways. Or playing with it. I have gone through such changes throughout my life: Short haired child. Medium conservative cut hair in my teens and 20’s. I was never allowed to be a hippy by my parents. My dad tried to beat me once for having my hair maybe 2 inches long. I had my hair parted on one side for a long time. Then I met a woman that wanted me to not be me. To be what she wanted me to be. I let her change my hair so that I combed it straight back. After I lost her, I tried to go back to the old me. Part on the side. Hmmm the lady was right: hair swept back was best. Let my hair grow long eventually pony tailed. Then later grew a beard to go with it. After I got a divorce I went full wild man with long hair and a beard. When my mother was dying I got the beard shaved off and got a short hair cut FOR HER. I felt good about that. To hell with ego. Mom liked that look so I gave her THAT person back. After she died, I shaved my head as a mourning sort of thing. EXTREME. Oh hell that was fun! I liked it! Kept it that way until last year when I grew another beard but shaved head. Nice combination.

It is amusing and a learning experience for me when I hear people say they do not like how I look. This is me. NOW. Do you know the person beneath the skin? THAT is a learning experience for me about how to SEE OTHERS. Do I have any idea who you ARE? No matter the clothes or hair? What about your skin color ? Do I KNOW you? Or do I just sit back and make up stories about you and others?

Empathy.

So… this is the bearded me now.

Who am I beneath it?

I am many… because I am having fun with it. With what people say and how they look at me. I can change my accent a little and it changes how people SEE me by how they HEAR me. Someone told me I looked like a professor. Add some hick twang to my voice and I will look like… a redneck. By how I sound. Something I need to keep in mind about others when I see them. HEAR them.

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