I'm picking out a thermos for you

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Facial hair fun...

I have never really been able to grow facial hair (see my failed attempt to grow a soul patch, circa 2003). However, something changed around my 27th birthday, and a couple days of shaving-laziness later, I inexplicably had a beard. It was amazing - almost like I had finally hit puberty. Needless to say, everyone around me strongly encouraged this new development, mostly because it was something new to mock... so I kept the beard for almost two months.

And by a wonderful coincidence, the Koreans in my lab have been obsessed with my beard. How long does it take to grow? Does it itch? Why did you grow it? One colleague even asked if he could touch it (and I let him, because aren't I a nice guy?).

Side note: sometimes sarcasm does not translate across a language barrier. For example, one labmate asked me, "How do you keep your beard clean?" Trying to be droll, I replied, with a straight face, "Well, there's this thing we have in America called soap. Have you heard of it?"

And she nodded and said, very seriously, "Yes, I have heard of soap." Needless to say, that joke did not go over very well...

But back to the real story: as time went by during my stay here, the beard kept growing and became, how shall I say? Mingin' - just plain mingin':

I could have pursued a simple trim, but that wouldn't have been much fun. After all, why grow facial hair if not for ridicule quotient?

Step 1: Mutton Chops

My odyssey started on Sunday night: mutton chops, plus the goatee.

The Koreans were confused - some seemed to think that I had done it by accident. As if I somehow forgot to shave the rest of my face.

I tried describing that these were "mutton chops," which inevitably led to the question, "Why are they called mutton chops?" Turning to wikipedia, I learned the definition of "mutton chops," which is:

A style with sideburns connected by a moustache but with a clean-shaven chin.

So I didn't actually have mutton chops. Regardless, I liked this look.

Verdict: Kinda neat. It might look even cooler without the goatee.

Step 2: Goatee

The next logical step was a goatee. Get rid of those pesky sideburns!

Some people look good with a goatee. It appears that I am not one of those people.

Verdict: Toolish. Never to be grown again.

Step 3: Moustache

Now this was a trip - a big, bushy, moustache. Immediately, I received flattering (at least I think they were flattering) comparisons to people like Ron Burgundy and child molesters. Some people out there gave me some serious props, and certain members of the WU swimming fraternity would surely have approved of my sketchy look.

Out in the streets of Seoul, I had the impression that I was being stared at even more than usual. Even Korean people know: You should never trust a guy with a moustache.

Others just said that I looked "German," which is never a compliment.

Verdict: Very Cool, as long as you don't plan on ever having a girlfriend. Nonetheless, I was sad to see the 'stache go...

Step 4: Cleanly shorn, like a baby's bottom...

Right back where I started.

Thankfully, I did not have a beard tan... for the record.

Verdict: Like Odysseus before me, I have finally returned home to square one, after an arduous journey and much mockery. Nevertheless, my Korean colleagues loved the whole ordeal, and I must say, so did I...


  • I can't believe that you didn't keep that moustache. That was the coolest look of all by far! I expect an even better look when you get back.

    Too bad there aren't any comparison picks with your "soul patch"

    By Anonymous Andy Hejl, at 4:37 PM  

  • Fantastic dude! You've inspired us to have a brotherhood of the 'stache for the next few weeks/months. Wait until you see my sweet adam morrison look.

    by the way, you look like a pig when you are clean shaven.

    by the by the way, nice plan to go to the DMZ right now. I hear things are real nice and quiet on the N. Korea front. dumbass.

    By Blogger FBOD, at 2:38 PM  

  • Oink oink!

    By Blogger swimmerpie3331, at 10:41 PM  

  • Awesome chronicle of facial-hairdom. Should have thrown the fu manchu in the mix, although the Asians may think you're mocking them with that one.

    By Anonymous Eric, at 9:57 PM  

  • Welcome to the Brotherhood, however briefly.

    By Anonymous DTM, at 8:31 AM  

  • I think you should bring back the soul patch. How else are you going to get ladies in the USA to call you 'handsome man'

    By Anonymous erin, at 8:38 PM  

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