Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. Obviously it started out as a blog about my cross-dressing but it has developed a great deal since then. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the New Readers' Page above this and the tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Killing Jokes 2: the Beard

Bakunin, a simple straggly beard
that says "fuck you" to your
conventions.
Waaaaay back in time, when I was but a callow youth, I didn't enjoy shaving.  It was time-consuming, faffy and I didn't really need to do it all that often.  Puberty and me were never great friends and my facial hair was the source of much mirth in my small friendship circle in that I never really developed anything.  I got a shaving set for my sixteenth birthday and used it maybe three times before I was eighteen.  I went to University and shaved maybe ten times for the entire three years.  In my MA year I shaved maybe six times and during teacher training I managed maybe five.  By the time I started my full-time post I just wasn't in the habit of shaving.

My straggly hair, short and fuzzy, became known by my students and when I attempted a shave around the first Christmas in the job the loss of class control, a sore point for me at the time, was astonishing.  Basically the students lost respect for my lack of beard and played a little looser with the rules than usual.  From that point I tended to keep a trimmed-ish beard.  I trimmed it maybe once a half term, about every six weeks or so, with scissors to keep it 'neat'-ish and shaved the sides of my face - there was never much there, but the hair was getting darker and easier to spot.  In 2005, while with Toby, I shaved the whole shebang off in February and had to wait until April before it had grown back sufficiently to need trimming or tidying up again.

Kropotkin, an awesome sheep
of facial hair that says "use
mutual aid and up yours" to
standard views of appropriate
face whiskers
You get the idea.  I may have had a beard for a long time but part of this was the incedible slowness of its growth.  Indeed, I stopped thinking about it that much.  When I was courting Tilly I shaved the environs of the beard maybe three times for the first three months and then once or twice a term.  Latterly, after Tilly had her massive wobble following the birth of the Boy (part of the reason I am where I am both at home and at work) I stopped tidying up so much.  It went hand-in-glove with the giving up of breakfasts generally and thus was born my 'penance beard'.  No real conscious thought on that one, but in my internal monologue if I referred to my beard I referred to it as a 'penance beard'.  In penance for what was something I never thought to look at too hard nor define too closely.




The full Marx, a classic that says, "from each according
to his ability to each acc- fuck you, beard haters!"
I shaved and trimmed and tidied it about twice between 2010 and now.  It got all of three inches long in places.  Part of me wanted to see just how far I could go with it - could I really manage a full anarchist?  Think of Karl Marx or Bakunin or Godwin.  These people had big bushy beards of doom and, to be honest, part of me rather liked the idea that one could be so obnoxious and in your face that you would grow a humongous beard to get in the way of everyone else.  Also, the beard had long become both a defensive mask (yes, Wendy, we all wear masks) and a conversation opener.  In my group of friends I had become rather well known for my beard.  Ask anyone about me and they'd start off with my beard.

Tilly had also made it known that she didn't like beards when we met.  I offered to shave it off, not really going to, and then she saw a picture of me when I was at Sixth Form - clean shaven.  And a picture of me accepting my MA some five years later - clean shaven.  She decided that I looked twelve in both images and that she'd be some kind of cradle snatcher if I were clean shaven.  And that was that.



The last time I was clean shaven, in 2005, I was dressed as a schoolgirl for a night.  Indeed, it was that whole thing that prompted me to shave my beard in the first place.  I won't pretend that I looked any more feminine but I probably did look less masculine.  When I dressed in a dress round at Catherine's as part of a drunken 'bet' (one she knew she'd win, in fairness, and one that I actively encouraged following a conversation between us regarding my cross-dressing a year previously) I was not clean shaven.  Catherine even complimented me on my ability to look better in the dress than her (a frivilous and untrue compliment but one that I nevertheless appreciate) and to do so with a beard.  She suggested that I should always wear dresses, my legs suited them, and keep the beard just to piss people off.  She has as one of her stated aims the growing of a beard.  Point being, the beard has been a fixture for a looong time.

EDIT - I can't seem to make blogger caption that image there to your right.  Bollocks.  If I could it would say "Something like this.  The dress goes further but fails completely to cover the ankles, something you can't see in this cropped version - typical male in a dress?  Loving the faux fur at the top there.  Also: coconut hairdo!  A beard that says, "I'm so pretty, oh so pret- up yours!""

Lately, though, it got very much in the way.  I was eating a ham sandwich a couple of days ago and every mouthful came with added hair, despite my best efforts to train the moustache hair away from my mouth.  I mean: eeew!  Also, the last week and a bit have been... wobbly.  The beard wasn't offensive enough any more and was failing in its most basic duty of pissing people off.  The only person it was pissing off was me.

So I got rid of it.

I had a haircut yesterday, they didn't do wet shaves, and then retired home.  I took about forty minutes to myself in the bathroom and, to the strains of Kate Bush's Aerial on the evil iPad, I shaved the entire hairy mess from my face.  I took my time, using scissors, razor and a host of soap-based product built up over the years from people assuming that because I have a beard that grows as a goatee I must be perpetually shaving my cheeks and neck (it just doesn't grow there much, I have a natural goatee).  It was nice.  About as close as I'll ever come to having a pampering session I suspect and about as scented as I think I'll get away with.  No aftershave though, haven't had any of that since about 2002!



It was lovely.  The experience, that is, and... yes.  Is it unseemly that such a masculine act should be so... feminine?  Also, it has massively unsettled Tilly which, given events over the last week and a half, is perhaps no bad thing.  As someone pointed out to me, if she is upset by this turn of events it's not like she can withold sex.

So, yes, my chin has now been naked in public and made any kind of physicality between myself and Tilly while watching a DVD last night impossible.  I had a beer too, but was unable to get a review done and it was last night now so... it wouldn't be right to try and review it now.  I'd have it again though, so it's not too bad.  I dunno, can I still review beers now I have a smooth bumface?  "Control, you must learn control."  From Gandhi to Yoda over two posts, nice.

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