Since I was about fifteen, I’ve been blessed with the ability to grow a pretty generous amount of facial and body hair. I’m talking Tom Selleck Magnum P.I. levels. In high school, I rejected my wooliness to waste time and razors keeping myself as baby faced as my peers, but when I got to college, I discovered a general preference in the fairer sex for men to have at least some level of hair. For the first time, I appreciated what God had blessed me with, because I could use this ability to hide and enhance my more than middle of the bell curve physical appearance.
It’s been a great seven years of embracing the fuzz and always sporting at least some level of stubble and letting the chest fro blossom to its full potential. But after all this time, I think I’m ready for a change. I’ve been pretty punctual with being lazy about making sure all the buttons get tended to on my shirts and that my facial hair stays somewhere between Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan and Tom Hanks in Castaway, and I gotta say, I’m getting a little bored. I know I’m not ready to delve into the hipster’s world of handlebars and wizard’s beards, nor do I want to suddenly go full nudity and expose my bare cheeks and chin to the world for the first time in almost a decade, so where does that leave me? What’s left for a middle of the road hair grower, such as myself, searching for that next big leap in evolutionary growth?
The salt and pepper look.
The salt and pepper look is pretty much the peak of the alpha spectrum. You’re right at the end of your adolescence, right on the cusp of your seniority, tightrope walking both worlds with the recklessness of a young Brett Favre and the ease of ’08 Greg Maddux. You don’t know what’s ahead of you, but you know you can grab it by the horns and face it head on because you’ve tackled all that’s behind you and come out with no worse than a couple grey hairs for battle scars. A salt and pepper style conveys authority, and no one’s going to question whether you’re qualified to be in your position because you’ve got your qualification sprinkled perfectly throughout your head and face. No one’s going to question whether you’re going to survive the trip because you’re not totally snow white yet either. You’ve got color in your hair, you’re just sporting as Romaine likes a to put it, “A touch of grey.” Salt and pepper hair says you’ve seen some shit, but you’ve got a lot more shit left to see.
The salt and pepper years are a resurgence. It’s your renaissance. Think about all the actors out there currently hitting their salt and pepper phase. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo; hell, I think I even saw the Fresh Prince and Joey from Friends rocking a little white behind the ears. And let’s not forget the two guys from Grey’s Anatomy, Mcwhatever their names were. You think Matthew McConaughey and Leo are killing it now? Just wait until they’re grooming some grey in their stubble. Being an actor with a splash of grey opens the doors to all kinds of roles. You can play the older guy, the youngish guy, the guy who’s new to town and looking for a fresh start, or the guy who’s been in town for a while and can show you the ropes. You get my point.
Same thing goes with the regular world too. You want to quit your job and try to go be an Elk hunting guide like you’ve always talked about? Go ahead, you’ve got the salt and pepper beard for it. Think it’s time to march into the boss’s office and tell him you’re taking paid personal time? That conversation is going to go a whole lot better if you’ve got a little grey letting him know you’ve paid your dues.
I know I’m impatient, but a salt and pepper style is a powerful weapon in the postgrad world. It stands you out from all the other slums walking around with their single color hair and beards and is the first step to gutting your worthless kid’s room to make way for a bar/humidor and really embracing a midlife crisis. I look around at all these guys with just enough grey and I envy that they’ve already battled mortgages and kids and layoffs and recessions and come out winners. I know that much like Rome, and The Rock, greatness and the Salt and Pepper look aren’t built in a day. I’ve got to earn my stripes, but when that morning comes that I can look in the sink and see just a sprinkle of snow falling off the trimmer, I know I’m joining an elite club full of dark leather, single malt liquor, and open necked shirts. Can’t wait..
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