It was the moustache that killed it for me.
It kept touching my upper lip. It kept curling into the corners of my mouth, getting covered in saliva or, worse, getting food caught in it.
I've had the sniffles for the past couple of weeks, and I dreaded blowing my nose, felt I needed to wash my face after, to make sure there was no goo caught in the whiskers.
I don't think my face suits a beard. It rounds out a face that already is starting to show the extra pounds I've put on over the past few months. I don't mind the gray, so much. It was the shagginess.
I kept it for 37 days. I trimmed it twice: the second time, too close for my liking, and I felt that I was starting all over again. In Montréal, a couple of weeks ago, I met with a friend who has been growing his own beard for quite some time, and we looked more like brothers, with our gray coming through around our chops, like twins.
That wasn't a bad thing at all, but I felt his beard suited him, while mine did not suit me.
And so, last Sunday, I shaved it off. I had been working the entire day in our kitchen and family room, cutting lengths of baseboards. I was full of sawdust, I smelled of sweat, and I looked like a homeless person. To add to that look, I pulled my hood from my sweater over my head, trying to look anonymous.
I decided to take a picture before I cleaned myself up, before I returned the mitre saw back to its owner.
The beard had to go. I took an electric shaver to it, hopped in the shower, and removed the rest with my razor, which had been largely neglected for more than a month.
My friend didn't notice, when I returned her power tool, even though I had spent Friday evening with her, had seen her again on the following day. My wife, who saw me briefly as I foisted the tool into the trunk of my car and she pulled into our driveway in hers, and who had a conversation with me, in our kitchen, on my return, didn't notice. Not even our youngest daughter, who was sitting at our new kitchen table, seemed oblivious to my shag-free face.
It wasn't until my eldest child came into the kitchen, for dinner, and saw me, that the discovery was made. "You shaved!" she exclaimed, joyously. Though everyone in my family had a dislike for the growth, it was DD15 who liked it the least, who would ask me every couple of days when I would take it off.
I'm back to my normal, clean-shaven self, again. I don't think I'll grow a beard again. Not on purpose. Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw someone I didn't know. Now, I see that familiar face. It ain't pretty, but it's mine.