Shaving is a genuine pain in the neck.
I can get away with doing it every other day, but as I am the proud owner of a beard I have to maintain the beard on my jaw as well as deal with the stubble that surrounds it.
I’ve had a beard as long as I’ve been able to; having worked at McDonalds for four years during my college years, I had to be clean-shaven, as if some designer stubble was going to fall into a burger and affect the flavour or something. As soon as I left that job, I had the Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Craig David, the Ed Norton in American History X – variants on goatees that steadily morphed in to scruffy beards.
But in 2015 I don’t think designer stubble is even a thing any more – we now have designer beards. Everyone who didn’t have beards last year now has a thick, black beard. Watch an episode of Emmerdale, and you’ll note that hairy chins are no longer confined to tramps and lumberjacks – they refuse entry to The Woolpack if you aren’t packing the full ZZ Top. It’s a trend that’s taken over from sleeve tattoos and blokes getting both of their ears pierced (what the fuck was that all about?)
You know what started all of this off? Movember. Ever since some charity worker mis-spelt the eleventh month of the year and tried to convince us that “moustache” and “November” makes Movember, it’s become an annual event for bald-faced bell-ends. One that I can’t actually get involved with, because if I didn’t shave or trim my top lip over the course of 30 days, I’d look like Yosemite Sam.
And that’s the beauty of a beard – they give your face character, but also have character themselves. Some sections grow faster or thicker than others, some look lighter or have ginger patches. You can customise them, much more than you can with pubic hair.
And yet we’ve got men in their twenties dying their beards. There’s men putting gel and softener on their faces. What the fuck are they playing at? They want women to play with their beard like a fucking Yorkshire Terrier or something.
This is the reality of living with a beard. Have you ever used an electric trimmer and found you spend the rest of the morning picking bits of stubble out of your eyes? I have, and it’s twice as bad when you have contact lenses in. I find myself closing my eyes when trimming in an upwards direction, for fear of wasting a weekend plucking hair from my pupils. Being blind and hairy is the worst combination since fat and ugly.
Shaving in the bath, a technique commonly practised by ladies, is a fucking nightmare if you wear glasses. Spectacles and hot water just don’t complement each other – because of this I’ve had to give up reading in the shower. Your lenses get steamed up instantly, leaving you with worse vision than not wearing any at all. So unless you wear contacts in the bath (which is oddly frowned upon by opticians), shaving may as well take place with a potato peeler.
And yet, I still do it. Blindly dragging a Gillette across my neck just because I’ve always believed that steam and hot water “opens the pores”. It opens something, and something pours, but I’ve always felt that a neck full of razor bumps still feels smarter than scruffy stubble when working in an office, even when colleagues point out the blood on my collar like we’re in a scene from Shaun of the Dead.
I blame my dad. Growing up I sat through many a family dinner with my father bleeding profusely whilst we ate, patched up with tiny pieces of toilet paper. To be fair, my dad would buy the cheapest blades in the store – he would have shed less blood unscrewing and using a pencil sharpener blade. Now that I’m a father myself, I can only imagine the horror my daughter sees every time she dries her hands on a white towel.
My neck may look like the nozzle of a watering can, but at least it’s smooth. Until tomorrow that is.