Some people ABSOLUTELY DESPISE beards. I am not one of them. I don't necessarily ADORE them either; to be honest I don't think about them much one way or another. I don't give two figs about facial hair or lack thereof, or clothes, or jewelry either, for that matter. I BARELY NOTICE, except to say something like "the guy with the beard" if pointing out someone in a crowd. Assuming he has one, of course.
I WILL say, if a man is unfortunate enough to not have a chin, a beard DOES help his appearance, usually. But if he is smart and funny and kind--and not necessarily in that order--the appearance part is somewhat secondary (at the risk of sounding even more saintlike than Mojo actually is. "Oh, my, just when I think Mojo cannot be any more perfect, and here she goes telling me she doesn't care about appearances" you are now thinking. Yes, pathetic minion, Mojo is indeed that wonderful).
Oh, and in case you think otherwise--due to Mojo's propensity for sainthood--no, this post has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the Movember idea of growing facial hair in November for some sort of charity. Not being someone who can effectively grow facial hair, I'm not sure how that works in the first place, to be honest. But I can assure you that the Favorite Husband, who is nothing if not delightfully socially unaware most of the time, knows even LESS about Movember than *I* do. It's just That Time of Year For Beard Growin'.
When I first met my Favorite Husband, he was a young man from a rural huntin' and farmin' type community, and it's fairly standard for such outdoorsy young lads to grow a beard during the winter months. It's a combination of warmth combined with laziness, since the Favorite Husband DETESTS shaving. Plus you're young and full of beans and eager to show the world how manly you are, so you Grow a Beard, and privately quail in shame if you cannot. (To this DAY there is a male acquaintance of ours who HATES IT when the Favorite Husband grows a beard and gets quite vocal about it; and at some point in the abuse the Favorite Husband privately scoffs that said person has tried in the past, and flat-out can't grow one. So as enlightened and sensitive as the Favorite Husband is, the upbringing's still there.) When he evolved into more of a perfeshional type, he started shaving more regularly and only very occasionally grew a winter beard. And THAT stopped over ten years ago. Mostly because of the death threats.
Yep. I said death threats.
Now, we all know just how pathetically WASPy Mojo and her upbringing was and is. I have long ago stopped trying to hide it--is there anything more pathetic than a geeky white suburban girl trying to pretend she's all streetwise and tough? Yes, it's a middle-aged one--and now I just kinda acknowledge that, um, yeah, we didn't do that when I was a kid. I rate my Favorite Husband's upbringing as being even lower on the cool scale--all "canned vegetables and Wonder Bread", as my shorthand sometimes calls it. Fresh vegetables was a REVELATION to him--and a necessity for me if the relationship in its early stages was to continue, since he was kind enough to frequently cook for me and gray, slimy mushy canned vegetables give me the absolute HORRORS and I only eat them if I am expected to be polite and/or hang onto mah man like a good woman ought. But I digress.
The Favorite Husband also has a very olive-type complexion, with JET-black hair, and when he does grow a beard traditionally it is a full, JET-black beard. Consequently, he has been mistaken, at times, for just about every ethnicity known to dwell around the Mediterranean Sea. And when he grows this JET-black beard, there's a certain redneck crowd who think he looks vaguely Arab/Persian/Middle Eastern in appearance. And a certain subset of this crowd of beer-swillin', gun-collectin' red-blooded American huntin' types, it turns out, tends to EXTREMELY DISLIKE "them people". (I know; I'm as SHOCKED AS YOU.) And are not afraid--at least when traveling in large groups--of making their displeasure known, especially if their subject is alone and seemingly defenseless.
Never mind that the Favorite Husband has actually GROWN UP dealing with this crowd. I suppose it helps somewhat, since, when they confront him, he can speak their language and explain, using the tiny words they are best accustomed to, that he is as American as they are (if not more so, but he is smart enough to not say that part aloud). Still, when all the more recent trouble with the Persian Gulf started--whether it was the first war, or the Iraq invasion; I forget offhand--he was confronted often enough by such mouth-breathing morons out to rid America of all non-white immigrants that he ultimately felt safer shaving his beard off. (It's not like he grows a silly GIANT beard, either. It's only an inch or so.)
The delicious irony of all this is, he was usually told, at some point early on in the confrontation, that he should "go back to your own (expletive deleted) country." Mojo is a GREAT FAN of irony--most of these types are NOT, it turns out--and wishes there were tiny enough words to fully convey the deliciousness of what they ask. The Favorite Husband is not merely American by virtue of being BORN and RAISED in this country--heck, Mojo is too, but to be technical half of my grandparents were NOT, and indeed my maternal Grandmother NEVER ONCE EVEN THOUGHT of pursuing citizenship and would probably have been MORTALLY OFFENDED if it was suggested. The Favorite Husband's roots in this country go back even further: his complexion and hair color is a direct result of being at least a quarter Native American. His mother's father was "Indian", as she calls it, but at the time that was a HORRIFYING FAMILY SHAME, so it's not like the Favorite Husband was ever encouraged to pursue it or learn about it, let alone gad about trumpeting or somehow capitalizing on this heritage. Canned vegetables and Wonder Bread, like I said. Even so, the Favorite Husband being told to "go back to your own (expletive deleted) country" Mojo finds at least QUADRUPLY AMUSING, more so if it weren't for the implied "We're about to beat the crap out of you because you are slightly different" that is also going on at the time.
But laziness will win out over personal safety, so for the past month or so the Favorite Husband is growing a beard again. Again, NOT because of Movember, just...because. His JET-black hair is now fairly gray after decades of putting up with Mojo, and his beard is no longer the JET-black creature it once was. It's gotten quite gray as well, like his hair. Of course the area directly down his chin is still black, but it is bordered by stuff coming in that looks almost white so far.
You know--like Osama bin Laden used to have.
Oh, yeah. This is going to turn out JUST FINE.