21 April 2006

Why did you grow a beard?

It's a valid question; depending on whom you ask, the responses can be extremely varied.

My friend Nick, for example, would simply respond that it's because he doesn't shave three times a day (I believe he had to explain that to BYU ultimate frisbee officials on several occasions). Some will blame it on sloth, others on the need to investigate their own masculinity. Some actually think it looks good. I have my own reasons.

The first beard I grew was for a mediocre, student-written play at BYU called Faking Reality. Personally, I think we were faking quality, but I did have a good time with it. My character was a rebellious BYU drop-out, so of course he had to wear a beard. Incidentally, this role required me to carry around the much-fabled "beard card" (not actually a card, but a form letter from the Honor Code office).

One year later, in the spring of 2004, I was alone in Europe and decided the beard would return. I was hiking around by myself and I decided that the beard fit the Hiking Around Europe lifestyle.

Fast forward one more year and I again found myself in Europe. Again I grew the beard. I had come to associate an extended stay in Europe with the growing of facial hair. It just seemed to fit. I was walking around small countryside towns, riding trains, and eating lots of granola bars.

Now it is spring again, one year later. Ridiculously enough, I feel like tradition mandates a temporary beard on my face. I've done it each spring for the last three years, so why stop now? I feel a little cool with the beard, especially because it's always a rarer chin-strap variety (the real reason for this is that my mustache doesn't connect well). It reaffirms my ability to grow it and allows me to try something different for a while.

Additionally, this year's They Might Be Giants tour is entitled "Why Did You Grow a Beard?" I'll be attending a somewhat intimate concert at a DC club downtown. I'm hoping that John or John will spot me and say, "Hey, why did you grow a beard?" to which I can respond, "Because I was hoping you'd ask."

1 comment:

Cabezón said...

Beard log, 12 April--I'm about a week and a half into the growing of this year's beard, and I suddenly remembered another reason why it's good for me to grow the annual whiskers: it reminds me why I hate wearing a beard. It's scratchy (even when I shave my neck), I look silly for the first two weeks, and, even after I shave it in to my nice, trim chin-strap, I feel all scuzzy-looking. Thus I grow a beard so that I will remember this and have absolutely no desire to for at least a year.