Before HARDBARNED! became a book in 2016, it was a blog I began in 2008. It still is, from time to time, and you have found its home. Scroll through it all here, or browse selected posts at Medium. In case you were wondering…none of this blog content appears in the book, which is its own separate thing and mostly about working for a living. The blog is usually about pop culture-type stuff. Cheers.

Shaving Sucks

This squirrel would agree.

Whomever thought it would be a good idea to drag a razor-sharp blade across his face on a daily basis, thus launching the trend of shaving is not apparently of my bloodline. This man must have been born in a tougher age when men’s skin was as thick as cowhide and people wore homemade knives on their deerskin belts, because shaving sucks.

Okay, I admit it is nice to make out with your lady when your face is clean-shaven. You can actually feel her face instead of the coarse slug of hair bristling along your upper lip. You can rinse your mouth out with Listerine in the morning without having to hold down your unruly mustache with a finger to prevent it from tickling your nose mercilessly.

You don’t have to constantly break out the scissors and manscaping tools to trim the hairs that inevitably stick straight out from your face when you wake up in the morning with a beard. Then again, I usually miss the beard once I shave it completely. Total strangers have deemed my beard "better than a sandwich," and I find I'm growing it out and keeping it for longer chunks of the year, these days.

But shaving is the alternative. I’m an American of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and German ancestry. If you’re a white mutt like me, a Euro-honkey of five lily-white ethnic predecessors, this means the fair skin on your face is gonna bleed.

It means your chin will get irritated, dry out and turn red. It means you will have to buy mancare products like creams, lotions, aftershaves, exfoliants and moisturizers, unless you stick with your bar of soap and want dandruff chin, and nobody wants to snuggle up with dandruff chin.

It did occur to me a while back that shaving in the shower might be a good idea: kill two birds, save some water, utilize the hot, pore-expanding steam to my shaving advantage. I got one of those “fogless” mirrors that attaches to the shower via suction cups. It was relatively fogless, but cheap as well.

On random intervals around once a month, usually in the dead of night, this plastic junk would come un-suctioned from the shower wall and crash into the tub, waking us in a fright. I eventually slammed the vile thing into our fancy married-people’s trash bin at 3AM.

Speaking of fancy garbage cans, it’s funny how getting married tends to upgrade the quality of everyday objects around your living quarters. We don’t have a house, and we live in a tiny apartment, but damn, we have a sweet garbage can. And good cookware, an essential upgrade from the unenviable state of my bachelorhood pots and pans. You get married and people buy stuff like this for you, it seems, even if you discourage them. We have a pretty badass crockpot too, but I digress.

So I try to wear a beard as many months out of the year as possible, but it’s hard to keep it through the hottest summer months, when I usually end up going under the razor. Here Down South, usually sometime in April or so, the asphalt jungle starts heating up, the humidity begins to soar, and the sweat sticks your clothes to your back.

My lovely wife, seemingly hatched from a heatlamp-heavy incubator, seems to be happiest when the apartment swelters in the low eighties. She is part lizard. Sexy lizard. 

Anyway, it is around these months and in these heatwaves that my beard begins to feel quite like I have stapled a sweaty squirrel onto my face. Dripping and invasive, he is perpetually attempting to crawl into his favorite den: my mouth. He has won for a few months, until late August, when the beard creeps his way forth once again.