Sunday night, after about 9 months of giving my first real beard a try, I finally gave up and shaved it off. I encountered four basic problems with my beard that I could never totally get over:
1. Never full enough. Somehow, even if I didn't touch my beard with a pair of scissors or a trimmer for a month or two, it would still look kind of rough and patchy, never the cool, "I'm too busy to shave" look I was attempting to cultivate. There really is a fine line, too fine for my tastes, between "quirky and unkempt" and "homeless."
2. The mustache-beard connection. I could never quite get that dead zone between my beard and mustache to connect in a satisfactory way. This is really the litmus test for a beard. If you can't connect that area by the corner of your lips, it probably isn't going to work for you.
3. Beard came in red. What the hell? Of all the problems, I'm most befuddled by this. Very unexpected considering there really isn't a hint of red in my hair. Not the worst thing in the world, of course, but not exactly cool either. Of all the ways that one can be like George Bernard Shaw, this is probably the least fun.
4. Beard Envy. The biggest reason of all. My friend Steve has an immaculate and full Hebrew beard. Another good friend often sports a imposing scholarly beard. Still another has a very fine hipster beard when he wants to. What niche am I filling with mine? Its not so much the "not being the best" that bothers me so much as the "their beards make mine look like shit" aspect.
So, not being willing to go completely without facial hair, I've got to go in another direction.
Mutton Chops? Nah. Chin Curtain? Close, but not quite. Handlebar and Chin Puff? Eventually, eventually.
Wait, what's that you say? How about 90210-era Jason Priestley sideburns? Bingo! Josh's old stand-by. Never fails, never will. If anyone's looking for me, I'll be down at the Peach Pit, trying to get used to my new face.