No, I’m not in a police lineup. I just look like this after two weeks of not shaving.
I have officially completed my most challenging and emotionally taxing goal. No, I did not run the marathon or hike to the top of a mountain. I went for two whole weeks without shaving. Those other goals that I just mentioned may seem like they would be the ones to stress me out, but it was actually the goal of not shaving for two weeks that has given me the most anxiety. Let me give you a little backstory to explain these anxious feelings.
Picture a man with a full beard adorning his face. He is wearing jeans, a plaid shirt, and is peering out over his cup of black coffee with his steely blue eyes. He appears to be the epitome of masculinity. Now, picture me. A young adult with countless hairs sticking out of random hair follicles all over his face. When observed up close, each one looks as if it is planning to make an elaborate escape from the surrounding hairs (à la Sleeping with the Enemy) . When looked at from a distance, it gives the impression that there is such a thing as male beard pattern baldness. This comparison should give you a pretty good idea of why I refrain from growing any facial hair. I am obviously not the type of guy who was meant to have a beard, chin curtain, muttonchops, goat patch, goatee, pencil mustache, etc. But I have completely disregarded this knowledge for two weeks.
In the past, the longest I have gone without shaving has been at the most two days, and by the end of those days, I was desperate to rid my face of the prickly, scattered hairs that had invaded the skin. This had been my experience ever since I hit puberty, but I thought that it would be fun to challenge myself by making it a goal not to shave for a set amount of time. I chose two weeks because I did not want to have a gross outbreak of hair on my face for too long, and I thought that two weeks would give me enough time to see what the extent of my facial hair growing capabilities are. And that was how the goal was born.
The first two days were obviously nothing too traumatic, since I had gone that long without shaving in the past. But once I reached the third day, I knew that I had made a mistake by setting this goal. The hair had started growing quickly, but that did not produce the results that you would expect when you hear that someone can quickly grow hair on their face. Instead of looking like “Mr. Manliness”, who I described earlier, I looked like a freshly pubescent boy who thought that his mange looked cool and mature. With this knowledge flashing across my mind whenever I looked in a mirror, I did the only rational thing that I could do: I began limiting my time in the outside world.
No, I did not suddenly become a social recluse living in an old, dilapidated mansion on a hilltop (the main reason being that I could not find one), but I did begin feeling more self-conscious whenever I had to spend any amount of time around people. Because of this, I tried to stay at home as often as I could. This was not an easy feat, since I had people who I wanted to spend time with before going back to college for my spring semester, but I did manage to stay home for most of the two weeks.
During the time when I was at home, I was very productive. I stripped the wallpaper in my family’s living room, painted it, and worked on writing. (I mentioned that random list of productivity to prove that I was not merely watching TV in a fog of depression during those two weeks). When I had to go into the “outside world”, I compensated for my gross looking hair by touching my face a lot. If I was sitting across from someone and talking to them, I would catch myself resting my hand flat across my cheek, trying to cover the spattering of hair on it. As you can imagine, this looked incredibly awkward, but that did not stop me from employing that awkward makeshift mask whenever I could.
Now, I feel like I am entering this final day on my stomach, crawling across a worn-torn battlefield. Ok, that is pretty dramatic, but I do feel like I am reaching the end of a race. I have successfully made it through my set time of two weeks, and I am ready to shave off this beard/post-pubescent hair growth/mange (call it whatever you like).
If I had to say what lesson I learned from these two weeks, it would be this: some people are meant to have facial hair and others are not. I can confidently say that I am firmly planted in the latter category, and that is where I plan to remain. I do not have any plans in the future to grow facial hair of any kind, and I am exceedingly grateful that I can begin my final semester of college completely clean shaven. Who knows? Maybe in a few years not having facial hair will become the trend, and I will fit right in.
If you have just begun reading my blog, be sure to check out my post titled “Twenty-One Goals as a Twenty-One Year Old” to read about the beginning of my journey to complete goals throughout the year.