Having lived my first five decades on the male side of Gender Street, I am naturally familiar with the ever-ongoing masculine imperative to be obsessed with all manner of “guy” things: Cars, sports equipment, firearms, motorcycles, snakes, knives, cherry bombs, dirt, profanity, fake rubber vomit, enormous dogs, itching powder and so forth. It’s all perfectly natural, and to be expected; as the old rhyme goes: “Snips and snails and puppy-dog tails.”
But perhaps the most guy-ish, testosterone-y thing of all is... wait for it... drum roll... FACIAL HAIR. Beards, mustaches, sideburns, muttonchops, handlebars, the nubs; by whatever name, they are all variations on a hirsute theme that’s as old (maybe even older) than homo sapiens itself. Have you ever seen a depiction of a clean-shaven Neanderthal? I haven’t.
Now, back in my guy days, I too harbored a powerful longing to obscure my distressingly smooth features with coarse black hair... although, in my case, the coarse black hair never really materialized, or even got much past the silky fuzz stage. Possibly my body was trying to inform me that I was really a girl and that I should abandon such a futile endeavor, but in any event, my efforts were... well, somewhere between pathetic and dismal. Being a bullheaded sort of fool, however, I did finally manage to grow a meager mustache –it took me three years– that would have made Fu Manchu die of embarrassment, which I mistakenly believed made me look more manly. (To this day, I cannot look at old pictures of Mustachioed Me without wanting to hide in a cave somewhere.) In the end, I shaved it off the same day I quit wearing a filthy disgusting baseball cap and initiated my gender transition. The ‘stache has been gone for going on two decades now (hallelujah) and will never come back, thanks to five years of incredibly painful, incredibly expensive, and incredibly worth-it electrolysis... yay!
Where am I going with this? Well, I’ll tell you. One of my current pet peeves/rants/diatribes has to do with the fact that nowadays so many men of all ages run around sporting the wildly-popular, damn-near ubiquitous Unshaven Look... what I refer to as The Scruffies. As you may have guessed, I am NOT a fan of this trend; to me, it makes guys look unkempt, shabby, lazy, smelly (even if they aren’t), unsavory, and generally primitive. Plus, looking at these horrible facial umbras always makes me itch. What on earth possesses guys to do this?? I simply can’t see the attraction; although, full disclosure, my beloved Significant Other assures me that LOTS of women not only don’t mind, but actually LIKE fields of bristles on their men’s cheeks. Well, possibly so... but if you ask me, they need to have their heads examined.
When did this Scruffy phenomenon start? Where did it originate? Well, here’s my theory: Those of us getting on in years surely remember the 1980’s television series Miami Vice, with its pastel colors, cigarette boats, non-stop gunfire, and criminal druggies being dispatched by Detectives Tubbs and Crockett... the latter played by perpetually unshaven Don Johnson, who, I firmly believe, established for all time the archetype of the Scruffy Sexy Hero. Thanks a lot, Don... I loved your show, but why-oh-why couldn’t you find a damn razor??
Of course, many –in fact, probably most of today’s young Scruffies never even heard of Don Johnson or Miami Vice... and yet, here they are by the millions, polluting the landscape with unshorn facial follicles by the trillions, and it just drives me nuts.
As it happens, I am greatly blessed to have two magnificent young gentlemen in my life. One is a nephew, brilliant beyond words, thoughtful, kind, with a heart bigger than the planet Jupiter. The other is my soon-to-be stepson, a genial six-foot-five ripped Adonis who is so blindingly gorgeous that he blots out the sun... I kid you not. Do I even have to bother telling you that BOTH of these incredible male specimens are card-carrying Scruffies? With heavy facial growth?? Whenever either of them comes for a visit, I cringe inwardly, hoping against hope that they will have picked up a Bic or a Norelco or a machete and MOWED THE LAWN... For the love of God, Montressor!
Needless to say, my wishes go unfulfilled, and I end up being heartily kissed by what feels like a wire barbecue brush. Naturally, with typical male good humor, both my beautiful boys find Lannie’s "Scruffy" issues quite hilarious. They chortle, tell me how much they love me, kiss me again (ouch!) and promise to shave the next time.
And, you know, bless their hearts, once in a blue moon they actually do... but not nearly often enough. And it grows back overnight! Hopeless...
Envisioning a clean-shaven world,
Until next time,
Are you sitting down? Sit down. You won't believe this. If I had a nickel for every time I told someone that I know Herman Wouk's son, Nate -- with whom I went to Israel and Europe for 6 weeks with the Hebrew Culture Council-- I'd have a shitload of nickels. Marjorie Morningstar was in a crossword puzzle I was doing this morning. I went to the computer and started reading -- and found you!! Wow. Good for you. Now I have to go on Amazon and get your books!! Where is that group picture of us? I know I have it. Remember the Moskoffs who had us bring home
liquor for them?
Good to see you. You look great!