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Columns

November 3, 2013

How can I keep this beard?

The 2013 World Series is over, and now I face a dilemma: How can I keep this beard?

It started in September, when the Boston Red Sox, fueled by the unity of their facial hair, clinched a spot in baseball’s playoffs.

As a devout fan, watching from afar, there wasn’t much I could do but cheer and pray. Except, of course, my own visible show of support. I grew a playoff beard.

I have no way of knowing, for sure, how my added follicles might have enhanced the Sox’ October chances, but I have to think it helped, just a little.

Now, however, the season has finished, and the stated purpose for my beard has disappeared. Unfortunately, I find that I’ve grown attached to my face.

My wife is looking at me now with a “so, that’s over, what now?” look. She doesn’t like the beard, not a bit. She won’t come right out and say it — except in her sleep, when all truth is revealed — but her hints aren’t particularly subtle.

“No, really, you look … um … cute.” “Well, it is a little scratchy.” “I sure do love a clean-shaven man.”

Though it has grown with shocking amounts of white, the beard has filled in rather nicely. I’ve only had one beard before in my life — briefly, on a whim, not a noble purpose — and I’ve got no idea how to care for it. Do I need beard conditioner? Is it safe for me to trim it once a week with a machete?

Still, I feel like I want to keep the beard a little bit longer.

When someone asks a question, I can stroke it wisely, like some kind of wiseman. It hides my scars, pockmarks, warts, zits, unfortunate chin tattoos and birthmarks. It also masks most facial expressions, making me a better poker player.

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