I’ve had a beard since I graduated college in 2006.
There are two brief exceptions to this claim.
The first would be when I applied for work at the MIT Libraries (twice) and Boston College Libraries (once) in early-to-mid September of 2006. I wanted to look professional, so I shaved off my scruffy man-fur for the interviews.
In reality, this probably didn’t make me look professional nearly as much as it made me look like a confused middle-schooler wearing his dad’s suit on career day.
We’ve already documented how ridiculous I look in suits…so now imagine a freshly-shorn, 22-year-old face in addition to an oversized suit.
Now take what you’re picturing in your mind, but make it look more scared of the big city and toss in just a wee-bit of desperation for gainful employment and I think you’ll have a pretty good idea of the game I was bringing to those interviews.
After my flurry of interviews, I was cleanly-shaven during my early days at MIT. I thought it would give a better impression if I shaved off my beardy goodness and showed up looking like a well-adjusted member of society instead of the recent college graduate/poor hobo/displaced Midwesterner that I was in real life.
Granted, that lasted for about all of two weeks or so until I realized that people could wear baseball caps at work and grow insane, woolly mammoth-inspired beards with little or no recourse from upper management.
At that moment, I went ahead and called it quits on shaving (and/or attempting to “style” my hair) and I’ve had a beard pretty much non-stop since October 2006 until this very day.
That having been said, in recent months, at least once or twice a week someone at work will come up to me and say something like: “Oh…so you’re growing in a beard, huh?” or “You decided it was time for a beard?” or “Letting the beard grow out?” or “Nice beard, when did you decide to do that?”
I’ve had a beard for six years.
Yet every week someone—sometimes the same person over and over—is always asking about my beard as though it’s some brand new toy I picked up over Christmas vacation.
My mind is absolutely blown.
I mean, I get that I haven’t had a majestic, full-bodied Dan Pribble-style beard or a perfectly-groomed and immaculately-shaped Ryan Gray-style beard for the entirety of my employment at MIT, but I’ve sure as hell had a beard this entire time.
Has my beard really been so pathetically un-beardy for more than half-a-decade that people couldn’t even tell that I was growing a beard?
That’s the only logical rationale for people suddenly commenting on my new beard, right?