Legend suggests one of the oldest professions is the barber. I don’t know how picky ancient people were but modern day people take grooming seriously. All young men reach a maturity where they must shave their face. My grandfather did; my father did and I did because none of us retained facial hair for more than a few months. Someday my son will. I figured it was years away, but today the prodigy shaved and it made me remember my first time.
My dad prepared me for the day when I’d have to shave and he gave me the same advice I gave my son. Dad said to wait until I absolutely had to shave because once you start you can never stop shaving. I was in no rush to shave and my hair was fine and slow-growing so there was no immediate need, but one day I noticed a little peach fuzz on my upper lip.
So at 16 years old, I locked myself in the bathroom, grabbed a disposable razor and shaved the only place I had facial hair, my upper lip. It took 15 seconds and it hurt.
I didn’t cut myself, but my lip felt swollen. The feeling made me self-conscious and I feared the whole family would know I shaved because I was certain my lip was blinking like a disco light. I checked the mirror repeatedly to see if my lip looked as big as it felt. It looked a little pink, but never abnormal. I don’t remember the next time I shaved, but I’m sure I waited a year.
I didn’t shave regularly until I was in college. Before I started shaving daily, I tried a mustache and beard. Both failed miserably. The mustache was patchy at best. The beard looked more like a shadow than facial hair. I tried a goatee for a couple weeks when I was in my 30’s. I didn’t like it either. Facial hair isn’t my friend.
I’m no barber, but I’ve cut the prodigy’s hair several times and today I taught him how to shave. I smeared on lotion and soap and gently shaved the fine hair away. He was unamused but sat patiently while I shaved and gave instruction. I don’t know how much of it he’ll remember, but I’ll always remember it. What I remember most is it came too soon. When did my teenager grow so big, tall and hairy? Why did he grow so big, tall and hairy so much faster than I did? Will he look better in a beard or mustache than I did?
I don’t know the answer to any of those questions and I’m sure the prodigy doesn’t either. Something tells me he’s less concerned about shaving than I was at that age and he thinks about it less than I am right now.