Crossing the Santa Threshold

I’ve almost always had facial hair since my mid twenties. While I had hair on top, it was most often a mustache or full beard; once I started shaving my head I generally had a goatee. Every now and then I’d go clean shaven, just hate it and grow it back as soon as I could.

One style I haven’t done until now is a long beard. I first tried it a couple of years ago, but gave up on it after four months because it’s such a nuisance. I’ve found myself regretting giving up on it, though,  so I’m trying it again this year. I started growing it in January, and aside from a couple of snips to even it out a bit, and make it easier to eat, it’s been growing ever since.

It’s still a nuisance; messy while eating, and it tends to curl. It would look better trimmed, but at this point, I feel like I have an investment in it, and I’m curious to see how long I can let it grow. I’m hoping to last the year. Eventually, I hope, it will even out and I can neaten it up a bit.

I wish I’d done this when I was younger. I’ve seen guys with long dark beards, and on some of them, the look works. Unfortunately, my beard is nearly white. This week, I seemed to have crossed the Santa threshold – suddenly, I’m getting comparisons to Santa from everyone.

The first one was from some random guy on the subway Wednesday night. I had an empty seat next to me, and some father was asking his son if he was afraid to sit next to Santa. Next up was one of my co-workers. Then this weekend, I saw a bunch of family members for the first time in a few months, and heard it again over and over again.

It isn’t a surprise, of course. I know what color my beard is. I did expect it to take longer, though, and I think it’s kind of funny that the change in reaction was so binary– last week, nothing, then this week, everyone is noticing it. So far, I think I’m fine with it.

Me with a 5 month beard
Me with a 5 month beard. Photo by Michael O’Hara

Actually, I think at this point, I look more like Poseidon than Santa – it’s not quite long enough, or quite white enough. But who knows what it will look like in December?

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