The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
— Serenity Prayer
Every young boy falls asleep to the thoughts and hopes of one day becoming a man, dreaming of achieving a universally-accepted collection of milestones that society believes embody growing into manhood: sipping your first beer, kissing your first girl, earning your first paycheck, growing your first beard, et cetera et cetera. By and large, these moments are not perceived to be a matter of if but when.
In hopes of never being chastised for dragging out my pride like Uncle Kobe and his steady demolition of the Lakers’ empire that he co-built, I’m here to come out and wave the red flag with honor: I’ve accepted my eternal lack of facial hair. I’m living proof that contrary to popular belief, not all full-grown men are blessed enough to showoff their manliness by way of choosing to not shave for several days.
It takes a great deal of courage for one to get such a personal burden off their chest, and I’m just bursting with pride that I get to make this announcement official today, December 1, 2015. Special shouts out go to all of my ancestors, whose exclusive Irish and Welsh genes are now not only responsible for me being called “Casper” on the Henry Clay High School freshman basketball team, but are now also responsible for the bravery to announce that I’ve come to terms with the weak, patchy, reddish-brownish whiskers that have led to my first adult disappointment. I couldn’t have done it without you guys.
No-Shave-November is now over, which is huge for several reasons. Per unwritten seasonal rules, white people are no longer allowed to complain about holiday festivities beginning too early, and, more importantly, I am no longer allowed to envy my peers who bashfully grow out their luscious, man-card-assuring facial hair for a few cheesy Instagram pictures and a good cause.
While never shy of cracking subtle jokes about the matter as a late teen, my closest friends and family have always encouraged me to give growing substantial hair a legitimate chance. “How can you know you have bad facial hair if you’ve never actually tried?” Patrick might ask. “C’mon man, just give it a few weeks. What’s the worst that could happen?” JC and Andrew would joke.
Little did they know the experimental humiliation taking place in Austin, TX and (across select Snapchat accounts) this past summer during my final college internship.
Perhaps “Most ratchet attempt at facial hair ever..” is more accurate, bud.
Even though this woeful attempt at strutting one’s manhood would make even Brad Pitt look like a troll, the sad thing is that there were several moments when I felt I was on my way to the elite of the young professional facial hair crowd — that it would only be a matter of time before I’d be in the same neighborhood as fellow twentysomethings Bryce Harper and my roommates (as seen in the picture at top — who are both two-plus years younger than me).
Yes, just for the hell of being a new young professional (YoPro, if you will) and not having any close ties in my new locale, I gave No-Shave-July an admirable, honest effort. It was an existential matter, really: How can I go through life never knowing whether there was a Greek god’s prowess of manliness just hiding inside of my face, begging to be uncaged?
At the end of the day, instead of being mistaken for Zeus or Cronus like I was hoping, my new coworkers pegged me for much more of an up-and-coming Joe Dirt look.
But those days are neither here nor there. Since overcoming this heavy onset of denial a few months ago, the joys of accepting my always-smooth mug have given me unprecedented peace and contentment.
Perhaps it’s a sad reality, but not all of us can effortlessly sport a thick, midnight black blanket on our face that compliments the sharpness of our tuxedo like the last name is Bond or Draper. For those of us who are less fortunate, accepting your fate is the first step to thriving as your true adult self. While your peer Timmy Tryhard rocks the pathetic chinstrap beard, and Billy Badass continues the self-admiration of his Selleck-esque mustache that nobody cares about, you have the opportunity to jump ahead of them by being the lethal straight-shooter you really are.
In the spirit of never accomplishing simple feats and what has to be the lamest pep talk you’ve ever received, here’s to you, Mr. Bad Facial Hair Man. .