Yo – Dave here.
Welcome to my beard update. The massive 12 month milestone was more than three months ago now and the beard has definitely gone through some transformations. The transition from a long, brown, full beard to a long, brown goatee beard – via purple, blue and green – has been deliberately slow and obviously emotional.
Leading up to the beard’s twelve month milestone, Juz decided to dye a bit of her hair purple. There was going to be plenty of dye left over, so she suggested putting some in my beard. Needless to say, I didn’t need very much convincing!
We started off by lightening the beard with peroxide. If you’ve ever used hydrogen peroxide before, you know how bad the fumes can be – the warnings on the packaging always recommend using it in a well ventilated area and to avoid inhaling the fumes. This isn’t too difficult to do when the mixture is up on your head. However, when the mixture is LITERALLY under your mouth and nose, breathing gets really hard, really quickly. So while I was freaking out and struggling to breathe, and Juz was laughing so much that she was struggling to breathe, our housemate Nina dashed into her bedroom and brought me a scarf to wrap around my face.
About 20 minutes later we put the not-quite-so-asphyxiating purple dye in, wrapped the beard in foil and my face in the scarf.
After another 30 minutes we unravelled the foil. It was soooo purple!!
Over the next few weeks, the purple faded to dark blue, then to light blue. Once it had faded through aqua and on to a strange green colour, we decided to dye it purple again. This time I used a drinking straw as a snorkel so I could breathe.
Sporting my bright purple beard, we headed to Port Douglas for Juz’s 30th birthday party. Seeing as the twelve month milestone coincided perfectly with Juz’s birthday, I knew what I was going to have to do…
We went over to my parents’ hotel room to borrow dad’s “hair removal device” – the ‘S’ word has no place on my Beard posts. I’d decided that I was going to give Juz my cheeks as a birthday present. I took a deep breath and ran the clippers over my cheeks. I kept the full length of the (purple) goatee, and a three-day-growth worth of stubble on my cheeks. Suffice to say, Juz absolutely loved her present.
Considering that I’d mostly been keeping the beard braided in the weeks leading up to this transformation, it looked neater but not overly different. I didn’t feel too bad about the whole thing.
While I prepared for the next transition, I let the stubble on my cheeks grow for about a month before I clipped them down to a number 1. About two weeks later I was offered a job in an office, which meant that I would have to make a little bit of an effort to look a little bit respectable. My purple goatee had faded to the strange green colour again and my cheeks would have to be fully exposed.
We got some brown dye, a drinking straw, and a pack of those disposable “hair removal devices”. Juz mixed the dye and got the colour sorted first – piece of cake. The next step was a lot more emotional – I needed to be alone. There’s no need for me to go into the gory details of the events that unfolded in that bathroom that afternoon, but I came out with smooth cheeks and a long, brown goatee rolled up and pinned under my chin.
Everybody is telling me how handsome I look now with just the goatee. Believe it or not, those compliments make me feel worse about having a ‘trim’. Have I compromised the beard to meet some ideal, just to be considered handsome? Was I not handsome before I ‘trimmed’ the beard?
I prefer it when less-bearded men step aside when I’m walking down the street and when homeless people look at me and don’t bother asking for money. I feel like something is missing, like when someone gets a drastic haircut, and even though I’ve gotten used to the transformation, there’s an emptiness where my fuzz once was…
I miss my beard.