Appearances

Today was Saturday. This means that when I went to take my shower, a razor was brought along to ensure there would be no facial hair between my eyes and neck afterwards. Some people need to shave far more often than this to keep a beard and/or moustache at bay. When I worked in the classroom, the razor would be used every other day to ensure the face was presentable enough for students and potential corporate clients. Working from home means it's possible to be a little less strict with the facial hair, but there are still expectations from the family that I be presentable when outside. This is both understandable and frustrating.

The need to shave is not what frustrates me. The entire process is a 4-minute task in the shower while the shampoo is setting on my head. What bothers me about shaving is how young I look after the fact. People have recently guessed my current age as anywhere between 32 and 35, which is much younger than I would like to appear. When the lower half of my face is peppered with a sparse beard, people assume I'm somewhere closer to 50. This is more in line with how I would like to appear to the world.

This desire to appear older is not at all new. One of the first times I actively tried to appear older was in the late 90s when I walked into a hair salon and asked how much it would cost to dye my light brown hair to white. The stylist took one look at my head and said "About $150 today and $2000 next month after it all falls out from the bleaching." Suffice it to say, there were no chemicals used that day. Instead the plan was to simply dress older, like Frasier or Niles Crane.

Eventually nature started to take its course. The thin lines on my face became deeper creases. The silky smooth shine left my hair as it thinned and started to reveal an occasional natural silver strand. My eyes began to look forever tired of the day-to-day commute. Despite this, people have continued to judge my age to be quite a bit younger than it is in reality. This bothers me, though I don't know exactly why.

Over the coming decades my body will certainly begin to look its age and feel like it, too. Hopefully this will result in being slightly less annoyed with the person staring back at me in the mirror. In the meantime, though, I'll continue to grow an inconsistent beard, peppered with white and silver strands, and dress like someone slightly older in order to appear as myself in the not-too-distant future.