• November 21, 2019

MILLER: My beard is still in the research and development stages - Odessa American: Nathaniel Miller

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MILLER: My beard is still in the research and development stages

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Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2019 3:00 am

While at the grocery store last week, I decided to reward myself with a nice six pack of cold beer because after a long week of being adult, I deserved it.

Taking my groceries and frozen prize to the checkout line, the child working the register rang my items one at a time like a machine until the beer slid across the scanner.

The screen asked if I was at least 30 years old, and I knew what was coming next. This child did a double take between me and my delicious malted beverage, and asked me the words I always dread hearing.

“Do you happen to have an ID with you?” he asked.

I assured him I was old enough to purchase the beer. He then asked for my birthday. I informed him it was in June, and he followed up by asking what year.

“Every year,” I said, only to receive an impatient look. When that didn’t work, I surrendered my driver’s license and was finally able to complete my transaction.

I have been told numerous times that I have a baby face, and that I should enjoy it because I have a youthful appearance. But being 32 years old, I cannot grow a beard to save my life, and it is one of the most frustrating things.

Society puts a lot of pressure on men to be certain things, and growing facial hair is supposed to be a sign of masculinity, wisdom, and fertility. The ability to grow a thick, full beard is one of the pinnacles of being a man.

History’s most famous men had beards: William Shakespeare, Che Guevara, Jesus and Santa Claus. You see pictures of them and say, “Now there’s a face I can wear on a T-shirt.”

Unfortunately, I’ve been trying to grow a beard since high school, and it’s still in the research and development stages. My friends like to remind me of my inability to grow a respectable amount of facial hair when we go out.

“What do you call a man with no beard? A woman.” Is how the joke usually goes, but I can tell you, it’s no laughing matter.

There are numerous reasons some of us cannot grow beards, but the most common issue is poor genetics. Not all issues can be attributed to our parents, but this is certainly one of those things you can blame mom and dad. 

There are a million websites that sell topical creams and pills claiming to promote beard growth, but they’re nothing more than modern-day snake oil. Some men are even using make-up and markers to fill in bald patches for a fuller beard.

Not having a beard means never getting to experience a hot lather shave or participate in No-Shave November. For some, those things might seem simple. For a person who can’t grow a beard, they’re experiences being missed out on.

To boost my self-esteem, I researched a list of perks of not being able to grow a beard, but was unable to find anything. The only highlight I could find was that there has not been a president with facial hair since Jimmy Carter grew sideburns.

Additionally, two bearded presidents – Abraham Lincoln and James A. Garfield – were assassinated, so at least I know when I’m eventually elected president I won’t be a target.

So to my beardless friends out there, do not fret. Know you have a friend in me. Besides, having a beard on your face is probably itchy.

At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

Odessa, TX

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