Edit: Removing my beard also leaves me with one less way to be assaulted. Also, as a bonus, kiddo still recognized me this morning.
Many of you know that I first started “cultivating” my beard about six months after the munchkin arrived. Many people would assume that it was simply a fashion statement. Beards, mustaches, goatees, etc…are “in”. So maybe it was convenient to lump myself in to the trend following category, as beards rise in popularity.
While I wish I could declare with gusto my fashion-forward hip(ster)-dad sensibilities, the simple truth of the matter is that the beard is a result of mathematics. An efficiency of sorts. Simply put, shaving takes time. From set up to clean up, it takes about ten minutes if done properly. I have previously attempted to shave with haste, producing only crude crimson results. Bear in mind also, that shaving is most effective when the skin is clean and pores are open. This translates for me to morning time, immediately following a shower. I don’t know about you, but ten minutes in the morning is ten minutes of potential sleep. One smack of the snooze button, three tosses and one turn, or really, just a little bit of extra magic.
Compounding the math, ten minutes…let’s say conservatively that I would be shaving every other day…multiplied by two years…yeah, that’s a lot of sleep savings. Now, the numbers:
(10*180*2)/60 = 60 Hours of Sleep. Or assuming a lofty average of 8 hours of sleep per night, an extra WEEK of sleep over the last two years. Totally worth the “accidental fashion statement” in my estimate.
So… why get rid of it now?
Three factors have converged. Beard overgrowth & general maintenance, heat, & wife/utility. Let’s break it down:
- Beard overgrowth & maintenance. While shaving is relatively straightforward, keeping a beard looking neat rather than barbaric (or Hasidic) takes a formidable amount of skill, cunning, and patience. Traits which I am lacking. On many an occasion, an errant clipped facial hair can turn into a deadly missile, with a trajectory toward my one of my eyes. There is no avoiding this. Oh and it’s messy. Or, I can spend hard earned money to see a barber for maintenance, but then it’s eating in to my time savings and financial savings. I wish I could just “let it go,” but alas, I have a professional obligation to look halfway presentable. Simply put, I’m tired of trying to look clean.
- Heat. Unless you live in another, parallel universe that does not suffer from global warming, you’ve probably noticed a relentless heat wave roiling across the nation. Now, just for good measure, sprinkle a hefty dose of humidity to the mix. Bake until golden brown. Beards are HOT! And itchy! I only wish I hadn’t waited so long to act!
- Wife/Utility. Le wife bought me a tres fancy safety razor & shaving accoutrement kit for Chanukah last year and it hasn’t truly been given the use it deserves. And yes, all things fancy must include French modifiers. Remember that old story, the Gift of the Magi, by William Sydney Porter, where the wife lops off her treasured beautiful hair to raise funds to buy her husband a watch chain for his watch? The husband in turn sells his fancy watch to buy his wife beautiful adornments for her hair. I’m obviously butchering the tale in my truncated adaptation, but what I’m trying to say here is that I didn’t want my wife’s very thoughtful gift to sit and collect dust. Happy wife, happy life.
So I guess now I’m back to losing 10 minutes of sleep every other day but I think it’s worth it.