Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Bearded Joy

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Bearded Joy

Article excerpt

I'm not talking about a long, stringy thing. No matted neck hair or waxed moustache tips. I'm talking about a neat, well-groomed beard, full at chin and side-burn. Or an extended goatee in the "proto-Russian" style, seen in the cafes on the Upper West Side. You won't realize the effects immediately, not until it's full-grown-two or three months usually, with careful trimming and brushing; conditioner applied like salve until the filaments are lustrous and neat, tinged with different shades. Only then can you reap your reward.

I suppose it's human nature, particularly female human nature, to nurture and surmount obstacles, to enjoy a challenge-which is exactly what the bearded visage presents. You are no longer a clean-shaven yuppie with close-cropped side-burn and brain; you are not an Average Joe, ready to be condescended to or ignored. You are an individual, avant-garde perhaps, a tad unpredictable when pressed -clearly full of just those qualities that skin-sanded men lack. You may be a bit frightening at first. Not horrid or terrifying by any means, just a new tingling danger that must be overcome by your date, a delicious excitement that she savors, like a helmetless ride on a motorcycle, legs spread, wind rushing through hair, vibration beneath, as close to flying as she will get.

My bearded friend, you may lead the way through risky terrain, with gentle voice and twinkling eyes, no longer afraid that your "nice" demeanor will be interpreted as merely brotherly. Lead on, McDuff...

In the bar, at the liquor store, near the power saws and cordless drills, you are a man who must be treated with respect, for brute strength (as evidenced by follicle power) and quick-tempered, sound judgments (documented by beard-wearing prowess) will often inspire faster service, always yielding the title "sir. …

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