Today marks the second day of my new life – my life without a beard.
Yesterday, like I said, was difficult. I participated in my first social outing without a beard. Kelsey and I went to a bar and got some drinks. We played pool for a while, sat and chatted, and participated in the on-screen trivia games. You know, normal bar stuff.
But the whole time we were there, I just felt naked. I felt like I was naked in a room full of people judging me and my lack of a beard. When I went up to the bar, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to drink. As I thought about it, I reached my hand up to my face to fiddle with my beard, but there was nothing there. I quickly yanked my hand back below the bar as to not look like a psycho stroking his beardless chin, but it was too late. I already looked weird. I already looked crazy. I looked like a man without a beard.
I don’t even want to think about how terrible I was at pool. I would lean down to line up my shot, but the scratch of my beard against my shoulder was an obvious absence. It was difficult to concentrate, to say the least.
So, when I gave up at pool, I sat down at one of the long community tables. I looked around the bar and saw all the men spending time with their beards, nourishing them with dribbles of beer and tater tots. I lifted the tall can of Fireman’s 4 up to my lips, but there was nothing to catch the condensation at the top of the can. I winced at the freezing metal that pressed against the space above my lip and below my nose, and sadness washed over me.
Everyone looked like they were having such a fantastic time, them and their beards. Some were large, bushy beards that look as though they should be worn by lumberjacks or truckers. Others were thin and patchy, like a child’s first beard. But they were beards, nonetheless. It made me think of my beard, all the times we spent together in bars, sharing an ice-cold beer, choosing songs to put on the jukebox together, playing darts, shooting pool… I just couldn’t take it.
I miss you so much.
This morning as I looked in the mirror, I noticed the first signs of hair returning to its rightful place – the first signs of what will soon burst forth from my face as a testament to the beard that came before it. And with this beard, I will create new memories, make new friends.
But most importantly, I’ll be a man again. A man with a beard.