I have decided to grow facial hair for the first time in seven years. In two and a half weeks, I have managed to surprise a few people in New York. I get odd stares from people who have espied me clean-shaven and I sometimes respond, “Humidity, baby!” They do not understand that there are certain sacrifices to perfecting follicle growth. By growing practice facial hair now, I am actually preparing for the winter, where the extra insulation will come in handy should I grow it again. I like to keep my options open. I like to perform trial runs, get measurements, and see if I can come up with some amazing chart after feeding the data into OpenOffice Calc. I like to have some dubious facial hair experience that I can put on a resume and then perhaps get an interlocutor at a job interview to talk to me about it — just to break up the flow for the benefit of others, because interviewers often ask the same questions and they always seem to look austere and professional. And I like to have fun with these things.
Anyway, the facial hair has been a success so far. It’s well past the itching phase and settling in quite nicely. I am not sure if it makes me look any wiser. But I like to think of my facial hair as Robin Williams facial hair: the way that Williams grew beards when he wanted to win an Oscar. I have no real desire to win an Oscar or any award for that matter, but it is fun to be taken seriously sometimes, only to flap out my tongue or blow a raspberry or do something decidedly not serious. Call me an iconoclast of small moments. I suspect that men with facial hair, discounting the buskers of course, aren’t allowed to be silly in certain parts of Manhattan. But then I don’t know. I only have their stern faces to go by. Hopefully, I will start a movement for more silliness from men with goatees, moustaches, and beards. Unless, of course, someone has already initiated such a study. I don’t wish to step on anybody’s toes, or fail to acknowledge the appropriate antecedents.
Can I recommend growing facial hair in New York during July? Well, why not? Live dangerously. Grow something! It’s like having your own personal garden! The only real difference between facial hair and a garden is that you don’t get any ripe fruit with the former. But you do get plenty of whiskers! Who knows? Maybe there’s a barter market somewhere that trades in whiskers for fruit?