I am roughly forty-three and three-quarters years old. For roughly 25 of those years, I have had facial hair, and for the last, oh, 15 months or so it has been long enough to be notable.
Apparently, in all that time, I have not acquired the necessary skills that “let’s trim this mess back by a couple of inches” is something I am actually capable of doing. Believe me, it came as a surprise. I thought that was something I knew how to do! But I do not. I did not intend to do this terrible thing to my face when I began “trimming” my lovely beard earlier today. And it happened anyway. I am very sorry, particularly since the children will not want to discuss anything but my face on Monday.
I am probably going to go ahead and dye it now, because it’s not like I can fuck up any further than I have.
Guys, I totally recommend being an old white man if you can find a way to do it. Because I have been walking around looking like this since October and no one has said shit to me about it the whole entire time:
I tend to grow a full beard between October and March or April every year, right? It’s cold outside, Goddammit, and I’m already losing enough heat through my bald-ass head. This year for some reason I decided to throw any caution about, like, basic grooming completely to the wind and just let that bastard grow out however it wanted to. I kept my upper lip somewhat trimmed because otherwise it gets in my mouth when I’m trying to eat, but other than that? You do you, beard. I’m not getting in the way.
(And, okay, I hadn’t showered or really done much of anything when I took that. I usually don’t look that bad. But still.)
(This is utterly male privilege, by the way. I know nothing about grooming at all, despite having had some sort of beard for all but maybe two weeks since I went to college. I just let the shit completely go. And no one said boo the entire time. Let a woman go two days without brushing her hair and try to show up at work, I dare you.)
There is also the variant I call the Full Pappy. This is the Full Pappy:
To achieve the proper Full Pappy, you take your bushy-ass unkempt-ass beard and brush it against the grain for a couple of minutes until it looks even more ridiculous. Now, I never went out of the house looking like this, but still.
Anyway. It’s mid-March and the beard is starting to get annoying when I’m trying to sleep (that’s a thing!) so it was time for it to go. So now, because, again: white dude, I look like this:
I was in the bathroom killing off my cheeks and trying to figure out how in the fuck I wanted to shape this raggedy monster and it suddenly occured to me that I really like the feeling of the extended length on my chin, as I am an inverterate, unapologetic beard-stroker, and so I just stopped shearing the sides of the damn thing at a 45 degree angle and left all the length. So now I maybe look a little younger and a touch more in control of my face but I also look like I should be wearing a jean vest covered in patches and carrying some sort of flag.
I dunno. We’ll give it a couple of days and see if I decide to trim it back to something civilized or if it’s gonna be halfway to my nipples by summertime.
If we were having coffee, it’s pretty likely that my inner misanthrope (who is not always as “inner” as he should be, let’s be honest here) would be on full display. This has been a flatulent, flabby nothing of a week for me, and I’ve either been lazy as hell after an extremely busy Thanksgiving week and Black Friday weekend or showing symptoms of clinical depression or very possibly both. There’s been a panic attack or two, and oh, I managed to get turned down for like seven different jobs this week. One job turned me down twice! One of the two “nope, not you” emails specifically referenced that they were looking for candidates who more closely fit the job requirements.
The job: mortgage closing agent. The requirements: no experience, associate’s degree. I am deep into a trap here, kids; I am not (on paper) qualified to do anything other than teach, despite being a versatile motherfucker with a ton of different skills who would be perfectly cromulent at a wide variety of different jobs. So most jobs that are roughly equivalent to my current level of responsibility and pay require years of experience doing shit that I know how to do and I am capable of doing but do not have because I’ve been teaching instead. For other jobs, they look at my resume and see someone who is clearly pushing forty if not there already and highly educated to boot (I have two Master’s degrees) and refuse to even talk to me because they assume, hell, I don’t know what they assume, but I’m unclear on the reason why someone would think I couldn’t do a job that asks for no experience and an associate’s degree. The pay was even good! What the hell?
So, yeah. I’m at the point where I really need someone I know to go “hire this guy.” The problem is everyone I know in town is a teacher, and I love y’all but teaching jobs is not what I need right now. I did have one guy recommend me to his boss, and I applied for an open job, and he emailed me about salary requirements, but upon seeing what he was offering and realizing that there was absolutely no way I was going to make it through an interview where I’d need to pretend to be enthusiastic about training people to use insurance software we sort of both mutually declined to interview.
Which is probably desperately stupid on my part, because broke. But that really was a job that I would be likely to flee at the earliest opportunity.
And I haven’t figured out how I get through the part of the job-search process where they contact my current employer and he says “Oh, that guy? We forgot he existed, he hasn’t been at work since September.” And, believe me, I had a couple reminders this week about why.
I might change the conversation to beards after a while. I’m growing my winter beard in at the moment, and it entertains me how every time I shave a beard off the next one grows in different. This one– also something that won’t help me during a job interview, I suspect– is coming in Full Hobo, and my current look is not one that’s going to make “no, he’s not diagnosable with depression at all” be a thing people say about me.
It actually looks a lot cleaner than it is in that photo. I’d get the camera closer but then WordPress would probably shut the blog down for obscenity and this is really my only lifeline at the moment. I can’t pull off that mid-twenties pretty guy 5 o’clock shadow look, so my only hope is to let it grow until it’s long enough to not look shabby, and we are in Utter Shabby at the moment.
After all that fun shit if you were still bothering to sit near me I might start discussing stories. I had this weird half-hallucinatory falling asleep process last night– not drug-induced, I promise; this was created by comfy— and I came up with like a dozen new stories to write, several of which I still remember and have dutifully dumped into my Loose Ideas folder in Wunderlist. Other than the #FridayFictioneers piece I got no fiction of any kind written last week, and I’ve legitimately got more on my plate than I can handle at the moment, so it was kind of weird that my brain spent a couple hours tossing “This! And this! And THIS!” at me. Maybe, brain, when I’m sitting in front of a computer websurfing forhours and pretending to write, you let me work on one of those several stories?
Crazy. I know.
No one’s ever having coffee with me again, are they?
Also: I love you guys, but do me a favor and refrain from trying to cheer me up/offering messages of support in comments. My brain is weird. Venting about this shit on my blog is how I deal with it, and heartfelt “It’s going to get better, we promise!” types of messages, for some reason, frequently somehow actually make the depression and anxiety worse, for reasons that are not at all clear to me. Make fun of me. Yell at me for being whiny. Believe it or not, the way my brain works, that’ll actually be BETTER.
Oh, and if you happen to be in northern Indiana and need an employee, maybe tell me that too.