Today I announce the least sought after outcome from a game of Clue:
The Missus killed the mustache and goatee in the bathroom with an electric razor.
Oh sure, it wasn’t her hand that held the razor against my face and tore away my dear, treasured friends. But hers were the hands pulling the strings that lead to this sad act.
It all started a few months ago, when I stopped shaving.
Now many who know me would argue that given my utter inability to grow a proper beard, shaving is merely an act of wishful thinking, me play-acting at being all grown up and able to front thick, lustrous facial hair.
I freely admit this.
I can work up a good bristle after a few weeks, but even that is embarrassingly sparse.
But every few years, in a fit of deluded optimism and an over-developed sense of manliness (usually after partaking of too many Rocky Mountain oysters), I stop shaving in order to try, once more, to hide my weak chin.
It usually ends within a few weeks, when I have nothing to show for the effort except worried expressions from friends and coworkers who are wondering if I have some sort of skin disorder manifesting on my face.
Not so this time.
This time I endured the worried looks, and then, when the weeks passed into still more weeks, the derisive giggles and lopsided, poorly hidden grins every time someone saw me.
And then, when the still more weeks passed into months, something amazing happened.
Enough of my beard grew in that I could plausibly claim to have a goatee. And maybe, just maybe, if you squinted at my upper lip while passing me by at a sprint, a mustache.
Wasting no time, I began to stroke it thusly during meetings, usually immediately preceding a thoughtful comment or penetrating question asked by yours truly.
And lo, there was much rejoicing within the cramped confines of my ego.
I was happy.
I felt manly.
I had attained completeness.
But the Missus, she was working against me the whole time.
Oh sure, at first she said nice things. And didn’t even giggle.
But then one night, as she rubbed her temples and complained yet again of her splitting headache, she asked that question so dreaded by any bearded man who has a spouse or significant other:
“As much as I’ve enjoyed dating the evil Ian, are you planning to keep that?”
Nothing so direct as, “Lose the beard or you’ll never get any ever again.” Now that I had a goatee and mustache, I was far too manly for such a tactic to work on me.
But the Missus, she is clever. With those little words, I began to have doubts.
Was there something wrong with my goatee?
Had she noticed what I always suspected about the mustache, that it was a mere wispy shadow of the thick, burly lip brow I imagined myself capable of?
If the Missus was willing to admit my facial hair fell short of her ideal be-bearded man, what about my other friends? Those who said it looked cool – were they just lying to spare my feelings?
And more importantly, were those really lice I saw climbing around in my goatee, or just a side effect of going off my meds for a month?
So, naturally, I was already in a fragile state this morning when one of my toddlers came up to me, no doubt at the Missus’ instigation, touched my mustache, then my goatee, and said, “Daddy, make that go away so you’ll be like the three of us.”
And by ‘three of us’, he mean himself, his brother, and his mother.
All three of whom have an alarmingly apparent lack of facial hair.
Actually, I worry about my sons. I don’t exactly have the ‘beard you can cut glass with’ gene, and assuming they get 50% of their facial hair genes from the Missus, they will be even less adept at growing the chin rug and cheeky carpet.
That thought keeps me up at night. The only way I can get to sleep is latching onto the hope that someday, within my kids’ lifetime, Science may perfect the beard transplant.
Until then, I will always fret.
But that comment, about being like them, was the nail in my beard’s coffin.
So, with a heavy heart, I poured myself a whiskey, my beard a last brandy snifter of Diet Tab, and then quietly, unassumingly, with nary a tear in my eye, made my way into the bathroom.
Yes, it was my heavy hand that raised the electric razor to my face, my quivering hand that shaved off the beloved, hard-fought for hairs, my shaking hand that lovingly gathered my fallen comrades into a warm, moist towel and buried them in the backyard.
But it was my puppet-master Missus pulling the strings.
I have to go now. The Missus has just informed me that her weeks-long splitting headache has finally lifted.
Suddenly, I don’t feel so bad about losing the beard. After all, it was awful itchy.