Remembrance Of Beards Past

Today I went to the barber to get my beard and moustache trimmed. My moustache had grown so bushy that it wasn’t just beginning to cover my top lip: it was starting to get stuck in my teeth. Simple things like drinking soup or kissing my wife were becoming rather uncomfortable, and this was after maybe no more than three weeks’ growth. I had to do something about it.

My barber of choice, Hounds Of The Baskervilles, is almost idiotically masculine. It’s half barber shop and half tattoo parlor, for goodness’ sake. There’s strong liquor on the shelves, there’s loud Australian heavy metal on the stereo, and I always seem to get drawn into strange conversations. Today they were discussing being urinated on by pranksters. Not in a gay way, in a manly way. Apparently.

I’ve never had anyone urinate on me, except for my daughter, and there was no sexual component there. If, on the other hand, I was taking a shower and a bloke came along and peed on me, I’d be wondering what was going on, and any protestation that fresh urine is sterile wouldn’t help my mood. Maybe that hypothetical person would be being friendly, and thinking I needed more warm water. Or maybe it would be like a dog marking the things it thought were precious. What if he’d recently eaten asparagus?

Such discussions went unsaid, and once again I got a very pleasing trim. My moustache remains bushy and vaguely threatening, but there’s enough space for me to be able to fit food into my face without getting hair stuck in it. And, after walking all the way from Dhoby Gaut to Bugis to make my appointment, I was in that blissful state of exhaustion that meant I was far calmer than when I left the office.

The barbers were convinced that it’s only been two weeks since my beard was last trimmed, but that seemed much too recent. Fortunately, because I blog every day I can search for "beard" and find which appears to be the most recent entry. In which case it takes just under a month for my beard to get into a right old state. This is Useful Information.

I realized this value today when somebody asked me what there is to do in Kuala Lumpur, and I discovered that as I wasn’t blogging regularly in October 2009, I couldn’t point them to a detailed account of the ridiculous oil museum, or the aquarium, or the butterfly park, or the disappointing televisions in the Kuala Lumpur Westin. Which is a shame, but also somewhat encouraging, as it tells me that if I write enough and often enough, something will be useful.

Sometimes. At other times, I may just be tracking the progress of my facial hair. It’s not quite Proust and his Madeleines, but it’s a start.

2 responses to “Remembrance Of Beards Past”

  1. Funny you mention Proust, since as I type, he is sitting unread underneath my bedside chair. As if moving him from book shelf to bedroom will somehow spur me into the act of picking up and reading.

    Things is I’m reading you and miserably failing to read him. So what does that say about our modern sensibilities?

  2. I have a similar problem – there’s a heavyweight Perec novel that I keep meaning to read and feel guilty about just here…

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