The tragic demise of my intelligence

The tragic demise of my intelligence

The world is full of bearded, wise men. God they’ve seen some stuff. I mean really. Stuff. You wouldn’t understand.

Sometimes I have a beard. It’s at these times I’m at my wisest. Normally after a trek, after three days of travelling or after those times when I’ve been really lazy… sorry, I mean contemplating the world.

The point I’m making is this – with knowledge comes hair.

Unfortunately, Gemma tells me with hair comes responsibility; the responsibility to lather up your face, the responsibility to shave, and the responsibility to moisturise to name but a few. I’ve come up with so many excuses not to shave – all my razors are blunt, the hostel doesn’t have hot water, my face is cold – and nothing seems to deter her from wanting me to shave my intelligence off.

At the moment we’re staying in a decent hostel with hot water and a supermarket next door to buy new razors. Despite the altitude (we’re in Arequipa) it’s pretty hot so the bottom of my face should be able to handle the lack of insulation and anyway, surely having a beard isn’t fair on my forehead?! The thing is, my beard is the biggest it’s ever been because this past week we’ve been learning Spanish and I’m worried that if I shave off my beautiful hive, I’ll simply forget it all.

I wet my face with hot water. The shaving cream I’ve been using isn’t a cream at all; it’s an invisible oil which means that for few blissful seconds I can pretend this isn’t happening. I close my eyes and pick up my new shaver. My mouth nearly opens to scream as the razor drags itself down my cheek, but I stop it just in time as I remember that to move my jaw will mean to bleed. Like so many victims of the shiny edged terrorist before me, my screams are silenced. I have become a prisoner of my own face.

And this ordeal has only taken a notch of hair from my upper jaw. I have the rest of my lower face and neck to plough through. It’s only now that I realise it’s grown too long to be wet shaved without excruciating pain, but I can’t just leave it. One small square patch of my cheek is bare. What if I get sunburnt? I wet my face again which washes away some of the tears.

During the next 45 minutes I become numb to the pain, devastated that I could do this to myself. I thought I liked me a lot more than I clearly do. I must really hate me. And the more mowing I get through the harder it becomes because I’m getting stupider and stupider. Each hair that drops to the sink is another piece of knowledge washing down the plughole. I hope I don’t cut off the knowledge of how to shave… what then?!

Eventually it’s over. I sigh with relief. But I AM stupider. I’m sure of it. And that’s the reason why this paragraph is shorter than the earlier ones…

And as for the Spanish? No, recordo Espanol. Tango que estudiar.

2 responses »

  1. From one beard loving lazy person to another, I salute you. I grew a glorious beard for four months. Men in India complimented it, (I was even told at one point in Delhi I had the beard of Shah Jahan!) Women in SE Asia mostly just stared at it, many made gestures about how SE Asian men are incapable of beard growing; Many told me I was a ‘real man’. This was pleasing.

    I’m reminiscing now, but mostly I Miss my beard, even though it was getting a bit ZZ top meets homeless man and I totally agree I kept most of my intelligence buried away inside of it, along with leftovers.


    • You sir, sound a wise man, a noble man and most importantly a beardy man. I’m glad you found the facial bush bought you respect in other cultures and hope you find this again one day. Four months is very impressive!

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