I have a secret in the bottom drawer in the bathroom.
Here, my beard is “outta control.” I wish I coloured it before our trip to 100-Mile. My own vanity bewilders me. My natural beard is entirely grey. I’ve taken to using “Just For Men,” not to completely get rid of the grey, but to add more colour to my beard. About 80% brown is just right. I’m subtle about it. I don’t want it to look obviously dyed. I make sure to securely stow away the JFM packaging in the bottom drawer of the bathroom. It’s my little secret. Well except that I’m now writing about it. It’s utterly ridiculous.
Let’s face it. I’m a middle aged, overweight, balding man in a great relationship. I’m not out there trying to impress anyone. There is no need to spend ten bucks on beard dye. I know it’s silly. But, for whatever reason, I just feel better when my beard is mostly brown. And I’m not the only one.
During a vacation one year, we met a couple from Ontario. One of them looked very much like Richard Dreyfuss. Very handsome, with a short, grey Dreyfuss-ish beard. Let’s just call him call Richard. When I told him who he reminded me of, he did not take it as a compliment. As we got to know the couple better, Richard took his phone out and showed us a picture of some dark-bearded guy. “What do you think of him?”
“Handsome guy,” I said.
“That’s me,” says Richard.
“Oh, yes, I can see that now.”
Richard sighed and said he used to dye his beard, but he developed an allergy to Just For Men. He tried other “natural” dyes, but nothing worked, so he was now left with the grey.
“Well, your beard looks great just as it it,” I said, and it truly did. But there was no convincing him.
What is it in us that makes us vain? To what end? Richard and I have our beards. Others have their hair, their fingernails, their shoes, their clothes, their car. It’s all rather arbitrary and- really- quite silly and astoundingly meaningless. And yet we take these things so seriously.
I don’t have a lot to say about this. I’m filing this under “people are silly.” Knowing it’s silly and letting the secret out doesn’t change anything for me. The grey needs to go. Time to give the beard a good trim and reach into that bottom drawer once again.