The past few years it has become an annual practice to grow a beard at the onset of Winter, and it becomes one of things that are difficult to get rid of for no other reason than you’ve had it for so long. But, it came time for a job interview, and I had concerns about my marketability with a mountain man beard. But, you can’t bid farewell to something 3 months in the making that had been with you through so much by just shaving it off in one fail swoop in the bathroom like you’d change your underwear. No, this calls for some fanfare. And so, at the Taylor house we held the second annual beard shaving night complete with several levels of facial hair styles as layers were pealed back to reveal the baby face that I now have once again. This year we decided to go with a theme: Forgotten Presidents of the 1800s with memorable facial hair. Enjoy!
We began with the full beard, so I chose James A. Garfield who was assassinated, but tragically died, probably not from the bullet, but from the doctors who continued to probe the wound without sanitizing their hands or instruments. The President’s beard was a little thicker than mine in the picture, and quite the specimen, but I’m pretty proud of mine too.
Next was Garfield’s successor, Chester A. Arthur, who actually pushed some pretty important reforms, even though most assumed he would be a puppet leader for major New York businessmen. This spectacular facial hair style is the shaved chin with full-on mustache and fluffed up sideburns. I felt a bit like a bartender from the 1850s in this one. Why did this one ever go out of style?
And last, we went all the way back to Martin Van Buren, the handpicked successor to Andrew Jackson, who got stuck with a recession after Andrew Jackson dissolved the National Bank. He has the Mad-Scientist side-burns. Since I don’t have white hair (unfortunately) and I haven’t quite lost as much up top as him, I really looked more like a drunken bachelor from a Jane Austin novel. If I could round up a suede jacket, riding boots, and a cravat, this could be a costume for a Halloween party put on by the English Department.
So, now the party is over, and I’m back to the less exciting, but also less threatening baby face/5 o’clock shadow. The air feels strange, and the winter wind are constant reminders that I no longer have a thick layer of coarse hair to keep me warm. But just like these guys who served our country over 150 years ago, there will always be memories and pictures that make people wonder what types of drugs the people took back then.