Photo: kamshots, Flickr Creative Commons
I've grown a beard. I think I may have failed to have mentioned that on the blog before. Some of you already know this as I actually know most of my commenters in person and would have seen them at least once in the previous two months. This fact in itself isn't really all that important. Lots of people have beards, lots of men, anyway and there's nothing all that unusual about mine. The hair coverage is a little thin on the sides, that section that connects long sideburns to the goatee, but it's good enough that I've not bothered to shave it off since work started back a couple of weeks ago.
The reason I grew the beard is a little more unusual. For some reason, I saw this beard as a symbol of protest, a protest against having to work a job with some expectations of professional dress. It's a stupid protest, but then I have a history about protesting stupid things. I once protested a college's decision to stop sending an English professor to my high school (I was a student at the time) in the middle of a school year by e-mailing the college and telling them I hoped they'd be raped by zombie dogs or something. I can't exactly remember what I said, but it was both creative and horribly vulgar. I had to go talk to the president of that college after that and I'm probably lucky I wasn't suspended it being a Baptist school and all.
Obviously, growing a beard because I'm not entirely happy with my job is a much more mature and understated form of protest. I keep it trimmed and there are several other male teachers in the school with their own beards so I'm not even the only guy with whiskers. Besides, I don't think I've ever shaved on a regular basis. Back when I used a razor to shave, I only shaved every week at most. It was really more an aversion to pain than a fashion statement. A couple of years ago, I switched to just used an electric beard and mustache trimmer that leaves me with permanent stubble. I also only did that once a week. Honestly, that probably makes the beard more professional than I looked before.
Still, the only reason I shaved at all was for a paycheck and being able to put that crap away for two much was at least a little therapeutic. I don't know if the beard will stay now that I'm working again. I still haven't made up my mind.