Occasionally I will go through a phase of not shaving. There are normally three reasons for this.
- I’m in a strange headspace where I am going a little nutty, or
- I have a reason not to accidentally nick myself, like a psoriasis flareup or a cold sore, or
- my alarm clock gets turned off without actually waking me past the point of being Turing-compliant for an extended number of mornings.
It is usually the latter.
To date the longest period I’ve managed without going nuts through the itching and suddenly wondering why my chin is damp ten minutes after accidentally dribbling tea is a whole two weeks. This time I managed to last ten days before breaking out the razor. I have to be reasonably awake – as in, being able to make a conscious decision to break out the shaving gel – in order to shave, because if I’m not capable of passing a Turing test I’m certainly not capable of remembering I have a mole on my neck and an increasing-with-age number of skin tags showing up on my jowls.
I firmly believe that the act of growing a beard does not make someone look older, but the act of shaving it off does make someone look younger. The fact that my facial hair is – at best – blondey-red, and greying in patches – means that unless someone is genuinely paying more attention to my vizog than I’m acutally comfortable with most people won’t notice anything beyond “there’s something not quite right with Mike’s face, but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe he’s been eating Nutella.”
Which is why I don’t do Movember, by the way. Just the idea of having a vaguely disturbing-but-no-one-knows-why top lip for a month is enough to make me check for stubble.
Anyway, I shaved. And I did it in stages, so I could see what I look like as my Evil Twin Brother. I don’t get to do this very often, so feel somewhat self-induldent when I do.
As you can see, without the beard I look approximately twelve years old. I firmly expect to be ID’d when going to the pub. With the beard I just look scruffier than usual, like a hobo in M&S shirts. Evil, on the other hand, just doesn’t look evil enough. The goatee look makes me look like I’m auditioning for a role as the Evil Twin’s aspirational brother.
Still, at least when I shaved I knew that I could make original creative works.