Here’s my beard/ Ain’t it weird?/ Don’t be skeered/ Just a beard.
Let me just say up front: I am not an expert on men’s grooming or fashions. I have no training or certification in dermatology or cosmetology. But I do know this: Al Gore has gone out and grown himself one sorry-looking excuse for a beard.
Understand, I’m not mocking Gore’s beard. In fact, I empathize. I had that very beard when I was in college. It’s a head-hair beard. Every strandfrom sideburns to mustache to chinis the same texture as the hair on your head. Some people look at a beard like that, notice its silky-yet-somewhat-patchy nature, and make harsh assumptions about how much testosterone a man’s packing. Well, you people just put that thought right out of your minds. I had my head-hair beard when I was 18. I promise, when I was that age, testosterone accounted for about 98 percent of my body weighteverything but the eyeballs, hair, and nails.
A head-hair beard will never amount to anything, because it’s cursed from the get-go. Every night, little beard gnomes come and snatch out about a third of it, leaving thin spots and bare-naked patches. Head-hair beards always look like Gore’s beard looks right now: an unholy union of a sociology-professor beard and a will-work-for-food beard.
Some years back, I decided to leave the beard growing to guys like my former drummer, Kem Vaughan. That boy could grow face whiskers about as fast as he could shave them. If he shaved at noontime (which is about when he got up), his head would look like a coconut by our 9 o’clock gig time. He’d have whiskers growing all up under his eyes, and right on down his neck, where they joined up with his chest and back hair. If he went three days without shaving, only his eyes and nipples showed through. And before any of you people start thinking, “Eewww,” let me just tell you: Kem Vaughan got more tail than Van Halen.
I haven’t seen Kem in years, but I understand that he’s bald now. His follicles lived hard and fast, and died young.
And that brings me back to my bad-beard brother, Al Gore. He’s bald. He’s trying hard not to look bald, but he’s bald. For the last couple years, he’s had one of those Donald Trump swirlovers on the back of his head. Every time the wind blows, Al’s flap goes up like the top of a waffle iron, exposing the big patch of white dough underneath. Or worse, it rains, and God and everybody can see that Al’s hair doesn’t pass the guitar-string test.
One more time: When your hairs get to be as far apart as guitar strings, it’s time to shave. And I’m not just talking about your head. This should apply to beards, too. In fact, when it comes to face whiskers, the hairs should be closer together than mandolin strings.
If I woke up tomorrow with Al Gore’s hair and beard, the first thing I’d do is make an emergency appointment with an endocrinologist. No offense to Al or anybody else, but when a man’s hair goes bad, and he starts putting on pounds in a hurry, that’s reason to suspect a defective thyroid gland. They’ve got medicine for that. An endocrinologist can hook you up.
If my glands checked out ok, I guess I’d go to the beauty shop and get my haircut woman to shave my head and face. Then, to avoid that two-tone look, I’d go tan the top of my head in one of those swell breast-tanning machines.
I know, y’all think I’m just making up breast-tanning machines. I’m not. They’re real. I have seen, with my own eyes, a dedicated two-breast ultraviolet tanning machine. It was in the home of a big-time recording artist, whose name I won’t mention, because she could just snap her fingers and sue me into the Stone Age. You’ll just have to believe me when I tell you: It’s like a sideways toaster for footballs, only bigger. I figure I could just about stick the top of my head into one side of it, and even out my head color.
With the tan job done, I’d grow myself a nice mustache, or a Greg Allman soul patch, or maybe a fu manchu. I’d try for something manly, in hopes of wiping away folks’ memories of me walking around with Denial Hair on my head, and Feel-Sorry-For-Me Whiskers on my face.
If that didn’t work, well, I’d just let my freak flag fly. I’d get my head tattooed and grow one of those scraggly Spin Doctor beards. I’d do that because, given the choice between looking pitiful or crazy, I’d go with full-out, pigeon-feeding, car-cussing, swivel-headed crazy.
Visit Walter’s Web site at www.housesenseinc.com.