The beard has been growing since the ripe old age of 20. It became a symbol of his manliness and refusal to conform to society’s norms regarding a proper way to present himself. The gnarly statement of rough life; hunting on the weekends, mudding with his large four wheel drive truck, catching and frying up catfish every full moon.
It was a welcome addition as he worked the graveyard shift in the coal mine, riding the elevator down into the cold earth, your face warmed during the shift. It is a part of his identity now. His wife doesn’t mind it too much; she adores the fact that he loves that hairy beast on his face. The shaving set she purchased for him nine years ago is still sitting untouched in the linen closet.
Times have changed, the renewable resources are waning. The company he works for is lying off half of its workers. Unfortunately, he is one of the workers who have found himself without a job; after years of dedicated service, he is set free, with a generous two weeks pay. He is now with the throngs of the unemployed. He has to pound the pavement and find a new job. She thinks he will never find a job with that large caveman type persona. She believes it is time to do away with the prehistoric look and join the brotherhood of shaving. She will unearth the razor and try to reason with him.
No one would know it by looking at him, but a four year degree in accounting was presented to him when he was 22 years old. It is what his parents wanted him to do; a document to provide security for his family. He never thought he would have to use it, he generally despises anything that is considered upright and what ‘should’ be done. He does, however, love his family and he wants to give them a stable life. He will join the brotherhood of shaving and transform himself from the bushy caveman to a clean shaven accountant. He never thought this day would come, but stranger things have happened.
As he trims the unruly hair into a pile on the bathroom counter top, instead of feeling dread he delightfully feels a weight lift off his shoulders. He takes the items from his shaving set and positions them in a line on the counter. The pre-shave goes on first, followed by lather worked into the hair and skin with a badger brush. He must admit it feels so refreshing to work through the bristly hairs that have been itching for many years. As he takes up the razor and makes the first pass towards the new found nakedness of his face, he feels himself maturing faster than he has in the last nine years. As he finished the last bit of shaving and soothes his skin with a manly scented balm, he is changed by more than just the new look. He is a new man.