(one of my published articles on NEXT)
Kids are, for the most part, wannabes. While growing up, I observed older people around me with zeal, wondering when I would be ripe enough to play a role in the seemingly interesting later scenes of the drama called life.
My Dad was (and is still) my hero. The dexterity and style he employed in almost everything he did was fascinating. This was also obvious in the way he groomed his beard. I liked his beard. It was short and simple, not spiky and rough. Plus, it had occasional chin straps – almost like Banky W’s. I also loved the way the mustache sat perfectly against his dark skin. Sometimes I wish I were dark like he is, and the ladies in their majority now seem to prefer dark men. Tall, dark and handsome, they call it. Poor me.
The art of beard grooming was a practice I longed for. I wished, in overwhelming anticipation, to be inducted into the cadre. I thought it would play out in a form so simple like standing in front of the mirror and telling my beard the style or pattern I desired for each day.
From handlebar on Mondays (for a Sanusi look) to goatee on Tuesdays, then tailback on Wednesdays, Van Dyke on Thursdays and Kong Fu on Fridays. Saturdays would see me wearing a French fork while Chinstraps would do for Sundays. Then I would have driven back home in a jiffy to get a Sanusi look, if anyone tried anything financially funny on a Friday.
The quest to have my own facial garden to trim and prune was very deep. So the wait automatically seemed longer than it did. I perceived men already in the beard business as lucky, an attitude that was probably backed by some piece I read about attributes ascribed to bearded brethren. They were said to be wise, knowledgeable, virile and of high social status. While women with facial hair, as lame as it may sound, were perceived as wicked.
And so, in junior secondary, adolescence crept in. Friends turned scientists, trying to churn out solutions to grow facial hair. Some friends even came to school with burnt skin, after applying nameless homemade mixtures. Methylated spirit was the most commonly used among others on sale. I gave up after a few tries without results. Then I waited.
Each strand of hair sprouting on the jaw was celebrated by the proud entrant into the men’s world. There were some occasional fights caused by my pulling at someone’s highly priced strands. Fresh on my mind is the fight between Uche and Tony which took place during a Friday prep class, when Uche was injured after jealously pulling Tony’s only visible strand of beard.
Also, my visits to the barber after I sighted my first strands often saw me reminding him (almost like a warning) not to touch my lower face. It was a “big boys” factor, a source of pride. Pride that soon became a burden as time rolled by.
Today, I’m faced with the reality of routine grooming for the many facial properties of being a man. It no longer seems like what I waited for with such great anticipation. There are just too many sides to keeping a nice beard pattern.
Care must be taken in choosing your style. The different shapes of our faces have attendant patterns that go with them. You have to know which suits you and try to be consistent with it. Another issue is that of bumps and the occasional “throats slashes”. Do well to pick a nice aftershave, while ensuring a hygienically maintained shaving kit.
So, for the female readers, don’t fail to complement that new “look good” shave your man is wearing. He didn’t paste it on like some Nollywood makeup. He thought about it and practically achieved it. Reward him the best way you can, not forgetting how badly you want compliments after a hectic day at the beauty parlor. So, let it out ma!