My Beard

electric-razorJust before leaving for vacation, I found my wife rummaging through the bathroom of our camping trailer.

“Help me find something” she said.

“What are you looking for?” I asked.

“You will know when you don’t find it.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” I told her.

“Just keep looking.”

So I looked and looked and finally had to ask, “What am I looking for?”

“I guess it is not here,” she said.  “Go back into the house and look on the vanity in your bathroom then tell me what is there that is not in the camper.”

“Oh….I get it.” I said, “you are talking about my razor. I decided not to bring it.”

“Why not?”

“We are camping and I don’t shave while I’m camping.”

She sighed that deep sigh of hers.

“Let me explain something,” she said, “camping is what you do when you leave everything behind. RVing is what you do when you tow everything behind. We are RVing and everything includes your razor. It also include shorts and shirts that you can wear in public.”

Which is what bothers me about RVing.

Real camping is the only chance most married guys have to be total slobs. The entire point of it is to sprout two weeks of stubble and return home smelling like dead fish, mosquito spray and stale whiskey.

What is the point of camping if you do in a different place the same things you do at home?  To me that is no different than staying in a hotel – only in an RV, you provide the room.

But there is something more going on here – and it is all about the beard.

I’ll admit it, I am an old hippie and like so many of my generation, I once let my freak-flag fly…  That is – until I got a real job.

My first substantial employment was in a steel foundry. They hired me despite how I looked– but at the end of my first day, the safety director summoned me to his office.

“Take a look at these,” he said, sliding a wad of photos across his desk. “It’s what happens when a beard gets caught in machinery.”

I couldn’t shave fast enough.

After college, I worked for a company that required me to shave and wear a tie. Near the end of my first week, I found myself working with three guys who wore beards, sandals, cut-off’s and tie-dye t-shirts.

“What gives?” I asked my boss.

“Those guys are so good at what they do,” he said, “that management lets them wear anything they want.”

So I grew out my beard. After two days, my boss asked, “What gives?”

I explained that I was also good at what I did.

“Not that good,” he said.

So I shaved.

Years later I went to work for the police. As a unionized civilian, the cops couldn’t say much about my beard until one day, my lieutenant called me in, “Greg,” she said, “you might consider shaving,”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you look like a narc,” she said, “and in certain quarters that might be misinterpreted – harshly.”

So I bought a razor and shaved that afternoon.

Now after decades of dress codes, I am finally retired.  At long last, there are no bosses, no employee’s handbook, no union contract and no one to say whether I can or cannot grow a beard. 

Yeah, right.

Author: Almost Iowa

50 thoughts on “My Beard”

  1. Sounds like you have lost your sneaky gene. First you pack your shaving gear in the RV. That way you can say, “I know I packed my shaving gear and put it in the RV.” Just as you’re about to leave, you take a potty break, returning the shaving gear to its proper place. Then everybody’s happy. You because you left it behind. Your wife because you put it in the RV.

  2. The Boffin looks great with his goatee and beard. I would not be happy, if he shaved.

    We go through haircut wars here. He has the engineer attitude of “I don’t have to look at me,” so he goes too long between cuts. So I have to nag him to go to the barber to the point where I have to threaten to buy my own clippers and do it myself while he is sleeping. He knows I would do it too.

    1. “I don’t have to look at me”


      Being a disheveled slob tells the world that you are a competent, confident person who is satisfied with yourself and your role in the world. Either that or it is just being a disheveled slob – but hey, who can tell the difference!

    1. Hair is exactly the same. Except for my hippie years, I have worn the same haircut since I was five. When my hair gets too long, my wife drives me into town and drops me off at Great Clips. If I get stubborn and walk the fifteen miles home without getting a haircut, she drives me back again.

  3. I don’t mind my husbands goatie and mustache and we are both 34 he he always had it. He works in the power plant and the only time he has to shave it is when he goes to his emergency training once a year. He looks weird without it. Lol!

      1. What’s really funny is my husband is a twin so when one shaves and the next day someone says wow man you grew that out pretty fast. So, yeah people don’t recognize who you are. They both work so, they get mistaken for each other there to. My husbands beard and goatie is bigger than his. Lol!

  4. Oh, dear. It’s the in-between stage that’s ouchy. I can’t understand the current fad of wearing 2-3 days growth of lady repellant. Girls now really like that? A face of road-rash?
    I loved my ex’s beard. It was soft and tidy.

    1. True, though somethings work better in practice than in theory. I am thinking casseroles here. Who would theorize that stuffing everything that is not yet rotted in your refrig into a Pyrex dish full of pasta then overcooking it in the oven would be a good idea? Yet surprise, both you and the dog live off of it for three days. That is when you realize that theory sucks.

  5. In the 34 years I’ve known my husband, I’ve only seen him once, briefly, without a beard. And I didn’t even notice he had shaved it off. Uh, yeah. Back then his beard was tinted with red. Now it is white, all white. I still like it, but do tell him when he needs to trim it. Thankfully he never has had a bushy beard or I would need to assume my role as the beard police.

    Entertaining story, as always.

    1. “And I didn’t even notice he had shaved it off.”

      I remind my wife of a similar happenstance every time she faults me for not noticing that she got her hair cut. 🙂

  6. What can I say; I like a clean-shaven man (unless it’s Dan only ‘cuz I trust his wife’s judgment).

    Have you considered a solo or guys only camping trip? Not only freak flyin’ free but good grist for blogging 😉 i wish that icon had a beard.

    1. I was just thinking about that. I called a few friends and suggested heading to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) for a few weeks….

      “Dude,” they said, “we still have jobs.” 🙂

        1. 🙂 I get the idea but I don’t think it would work. Old friends are like old dogs, it takes a long time to get used to them. You don’t want to discover that you can’t stand someone – three weeks out into Northern Ontario. You’d be surprised at how many things can be instantly weaponized in the wilderness.

    1. ‘Freak flag’…Crosby, Stills and Nash?

      You got it. I miss those old hitch-hiking days. I wish I was wise enough then to truly enjoy them – but then again if I was wise, I would have done something else.

  7. Very funny post. I’m surprised the lieutenant didn’t ask you to work undercover for the PD. Think of how ratty you could have dressed each day, all in the name of bettering mankind. Of course your marriage might have been different but…😊

  8. I might be you in a different universe. I’ve almost always had a beard. I shaved it off when I owned a cabinet shop because I had to wear s respirator. After I closed the shop, my wife asked me to grow it back. Years later, I shaved. After that, my wife asked what I wanted for my birthday and I said “I need a new razor” – “no! I want you to grow your beard back. ” that’s it. Bearded now.

    1. It’s the same universe, Don. Our loved ones always want the exact opposite of what we do. I am not sure why that is. All I know is when I finally figure it out, my wife will say, “you couldn’t be more wrong.”

  9. Each time I hear about your lady wife, I am convinced she and I are related. My HH loves to grow his whiskers on holiday as well. The man can grow a proper Snuffy Smith in the course of two days. I figure he has a choice on holiday: Me, or the beard.
    The beard usually wins for the first week or so… 😉

      1. It is. Beards and stiff mustaches do not mix well with kissing. But kissing while camping or RVing is sometimes more exciting than kissing at home.

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