Back in the day, there was no such thing as No-Shave-November. There wasn't really a socially acceptable form of facial hair, with the possible exception of a well trimmed mustache. Most polite folks considered a beard to be a sign of rebellion, anarchy, or any other anti-social heebeegeebees that one might imagine.
Naturally, I had a beard. When I say naturally, it wasn't because I fit into any of those above mentioned categories. I say naturally, because that was what grew on my face.
Just as naturally, the “little old ladies” at church were alarmed by my choice of face. I never felt like the victim of profiling, but then I may have just been glibly ignorant. More than once I was offered financial help to purchase a razor. I was also offered free aftershave. And I was frequently quizzed about my motivation to wear a beard. Even my own grandmother joined in the crusade to get me to shave.
Perhaps everyone thought I was turning to the “dark side.” Interestingly, no one ever asked if I was trying to emulate Jesus.
The truth was, I broke out with acne when I shaved. After dealing with that bane during my teen years, I found the cure. It was simple, 100% natural, and completely harmless. End of conversation. Only, as I have related, it was not the end of the conversation. At that age I was not comfortable discussing it, so I patiently endured their prying and never revealed my reason.
Now that I am old and no longer care what people think of me, I find the whole scenario amusing.
But it does bring up a few really important questions. Did having a beard way before it was cool make me a Hipster? Or worse, was I serendipitously a fashion trendsetter? And even worse yet, am I still that precursor?
Let's hope not. Otherwise the next big thing in men's grooming fashion could be out-of-control eyebrows! Yikes! We may all look like Gandalf in the near future!