Beards

Daughter 2 came in to me, wielding the kitchen scissors. Let’s cut his beard off, she said, waving them around like a hairdresser who has a vendetta. She was referring to dog 1, but I knew that this could be controversial. You see, partner loves beards. I always knew that he liked beards, because occasionally we would pass someone with a beard and I would make a comment such as, ‘what a dreadful beard!’ and he would defend the beard. Yes, he would actually defend that person’s facial hair. Now don’t get me wrong, a bit of stubble adorning a chiselled jaw is super, a long, straggly beard on a 65 year old hells angel, isn’t. Neither is one of those beards that looks like a shit brown carpet from Carpet Right. I try to explain all this to partner, that there are certain beards that work and those that definitely don’t, but he still gets occasional beard envy.

beards

When we got dog 2 clipped, the first thing partner said was: he’s lost his beard! We are definitely a divided camp in this house: females x 5 anti the beard, male x 1 in the remain camp. And boy does that 1 x male gets a beard bashing from the 5 x females in this house. Daughter 4 called him, ‘prickly hedgehog’ for years, every time he said night night. I remember feeling the same way about my Uncle’s beard when I was little. But, oh the contempt of a teenager…have you ever experienced being dragged over hot coals? That is what it is like when a teenager lets rip:

Are you going to shave this morning? (disgusted look on teenager’s face)

I wasn’t going to.

(Teenager looks like she is going to be physically sick over her bagel) I think you should.

(Red rag to partner. I exit the kitchen.) Well, if that’s what you think, then I won’t. (I’m gesticulating, ‘let it go’ signs from the garden, through the window).

And that very same daughter is now wielding those scissors at dog 1, with a glint in her eye. ‘Let’s do it while he’s not here to stop us’, she says excitedly. I disarm her and hack away at it myself. It’s somehow liberating.

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On our dog walk the next morning, dog 1 gets chased by a greyhound. “That wouldn’t have happened if he’d still had his beard”, partner says. I laugh the comment off, skeptically. “He had more authority with his beard”, he continues.

So there, I thought, we have it: men, beards and authority. Perhaps this is exactly what teenage daughter is trying to challenge.

 

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