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Who Is That Bearded Man?

November 30th, 2008 · 11 Comments · Uncategorized

Bearded Paul

That would be me, actually. Me with a beard.

The first I have ever had. Perhaps my last, as well. And I don’t know how long I will keep messing around with this.

I know some guys, a lot of them, are tinkering with facial hair most of their adult lives. Mustache, then a goatee, then a soul patch, then the whole shooting match. Then they start over again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I had never done that. Five days without shaving was probably my personal record. I didn’t like that in-between stage, and I was fairly sure I would have some thin spots that would look silly.

So why now?

–Just for the hell of it.

–Because nobody over here knows what I am supposed to look like. You show up with a beard, or the makings of one, in an office where nobody knows you … and not a single person says, “Hey, what’s with the beard?” I never liked the idea of answering those questions. Here, I’m the guy with a beard. The end.

–If you’re going to stick out in a crowd of Chinese as the tall Westerner, why not go all the way? Most Chinese men have trouble growing facial hair (more trouble than me, even), so beards are extremely rare and mustaches almost as much. So, sure, if you’re going to be the ugly “gweilo” (white guy, or, literally, “ghost man” in Cantonese, and maybe Mandarin, too), why not take it all the way and grow the beard, too.

–Maybe it helps balance my face? My hair is about 20 percent as thick as it was when I was a kid, so … Hell, I don’t know how this argument works, but I know a lot of guys with little or no hair who have beards, and it seems to help them.
–I thought maybe it might make me look dignified? Perhaps a guy of more substance? A real adult and not some kid still all clean-shaven trying to look young? Next would be a pipe.

–I thought it would be easy. It’s the opposite of shaving. Just stop, right?

Well, anyway. The one person here who knows me without a beard, Leah, seems to think it makes me look younger. And when you’re an old guy, anything that makes you look younger (or even prompts someone to say so) … sure, go for it.

I don’t know how long I will keep this up. Turns out (as every adult Anglo male except me knew) that beards are way more work than no beard. I didn’t realize there were so many decisions. Long or short? Wild or trimmed? And if you trim it, where? Above the Adam’s apple? At the jaw line? I find myself looking at other guys in a way I wouldn’t have, before, trying to figure out where they cut their beards and if it seems like a good idea.

And then there’s the mustache, which is ‘nother whole concept. Let it go? Trim it above the mouth? And how far below the nose? Turn it into handlebars? If so, where do you get the wax?

So, yes, probably one day here … it will all come off. Mostly because it’s a hassle.

But for now, there might be a few photos that survive of Paul with a Beard. Take ’em soon, though.


11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Char Ham // Dec 1, 2008 at 7:59 AM

    Leah, are you sure hubby looks younger? My husband, Mike gets lazy and he knows I’m not so crazy about his beard, as it makes him look older (Mike’s the same age as Paul). We just saw his Mom over the holidays & he said he would shave it off so he wouldn’t look as old as his Mom.

  • 2 Joe Strummer // Dec 1, 2008 at 8:42 AM

    I think the beard looks pretty good. Personally, i can’t do the facial hair thing … makes me feel grubby, like I’ve been awake for two straight days or have a big hangover. But PaulO, yeah it has at least a ghost (man) of a chance.

  • 3 Dennis Pope // Dec 1, 2008 at 11:36 AM

    There really isn’t a choice here. Not shaving everyday beats shaving, any day. Shaving sux!

  • 4 Leah // Dec 1, 2008 at 2:28 PM

    Char — I like it a lot, although I didn’t expect to. And yes, I think he does look younger. I think I may have convinced him, too.

  • 5 Rosemary McClure // Dec 1, 2008 at 4:34 PM

    I think it looks great, Paul. I vote for you to keep it.

  • 6 Neil Myers // Dec 1, 2008 at 4:55 PM

    Something every man must try sometime. My first was when I left the Air Force and was no longer bound by regulation to shave. And I so get all the decisions. Used to grow a full one during Colorado winters. Then the beard started showing more gray than the scalp and it became a goatee next season. Even that’s getting grayer. Last goatee was last spring, the second time I shaved my head for charity. Just so you know: shaving your head is way more work than haircuts…

  • 7 Chuck Hickey // Dec 1, 2008 at 10:19 PM

    Different look from the many years I’ve known you, but it looks good.

  • 8 Jacob Pomrenke // Dec 3, 2008 at 1:05 AM

    >>>I know some guys, a lot of them, are tinkering with facial hair most of their adult lives. Mustache, then a goatee, then a soul patch, then the whole shooting match. Then they start over again. Lather, rinse, repeat.>>>

    Oh, that’s me — except in April-June. That’s when I go completely baby-faced on opening day of the NHL playoffs, and grow it as long as my adopted team (the Ducks, since I’ve lived in SoCal) is still alive. 2007, of course, was especially fun!

    Anyway, I think it looks good, Paul.

  • 9 Nick Leyva // Dec 4, 2008 at 10:23 AM

    Paulo: I want you to grow a Mike Davis “Rasputin” beard! Then we’ll talk.

  • 10 James Curran // Dec 6, 2008 at 9:43 PM

    It’s been awhile since I’ve done this … let’s see…
    Top 10 things Paul Oberjuerge does to look younger:
    10. “Livestrong” bracelet
    9. Yankees hat tilted to one side
    8. Jesus “bling”
    7. Hand gestures of nondescript gang
    6. Tattoos of spikey things intertwined around one bicep (but not both. that would just be silly)
    5. Clear bottle of liquor with fruit flavored additives
    4. Pursed lips to the camera
    3. Hoochies!
    2. Punctuate every sentence with the word “Yo.” (EX: “I represents the 9-0-9 to the fullest, yo.”)
    And the No.1 thing Paul Oberjuerge can do to immediately look younger.
    Popped collar

  • 11 Doug Padilla // Dec 7, 2008 at 8:12 AM

    It’s not so much the beard that fascinates me. I’m freaked out by that thumb growing from underneath your chin.

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