Morning Story: Blade has robbed me of my mojo


Now staring back from the mirror is an anaemic Shrek. A fatter Gollum. A slightly more wrinkled and less endearing ET. I hate the hairless me.

So I shaved the face last week.

A ridiculous 35C afternoon in Hastings forced me to switch to my summer coat and take a razor to my face for the first time in four years.

That's the same time Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) spent marooned on an island in the film Cast Away. During that time his bushy brown beard had grown as low as his bottom rib.

Perhaps mine would have reached that length had I not trimmed it weekly.

Frankly I'd forgotten how good it feels with the sun on your skin, a smooth jaw and naked top lip. It felt so good I handed my wife our electric clippers and begged her to shave my melon as well.

It took her about seven minutes - the same amount of time it took me with a blade to go from hirsute to clean shaven.

Or more accurately, to go from a shaggy visage to a smooth but outright offensive aesthetic.

Truth be told, it looked awful.

If you think the face next to this column is disagreeable, and you'd be right, you should see me without the merciful salt and pepper manuka scrub.

Now staring back from the mirror is an anaemic Shrek. A fatter Gollum. A slightly more wrinkled and less endearing ET.

I hate the hairless me.

Even my kids fear this new creature at the dining room table.

For starters there's the chin. Not seen for four years, it's been secretly multiplying.

My jawline too is blunt, the once sharp contours all rounded off.

Then there's the eyebrows. With head and face shaven, these now pop out like a couple of unruly buxus hedges.

Actually I'm stunned I ever embarked on the path to facial growth.

That's because I once worked with a chap who sported the most feral of moustaches. While the aesthetic was deterrent enough, it was when his hairy accessory met cream doughnuts that the true horror dawned. It was the most unholy of marriages.

At each bite, any cream that escaped his gob shot straight into the mop. With successive bites the pressure would often force the cream higher, where it would eventually come to rest in the base of his nostrils.

A true gentleman, he'd wipe his cream-infused soup strainer with a handkerchief and then blow his nose to clear it of dairy product.

While I was tempted, as his junior colleague I didn't dare offer any dining tips. I had no choice but to endure that disquieting scene every morning smoko for two years.

For whatever reason, I was sporting a beard not too long down the track.

But for now, regrettably well-trimmed, I fear the Samson Effect.

While as a bearded man I have never defeated an entire army with only the jawbone of an ass, wrestled lions or destroyed pagan temples, I fear the blade has robbed me of mojo.

So, to test whether I still possessed super-human strength, I scaled a high ladder in the backyard to saw a few thick branches of macrocarpa. One, as thick as my thigh, broke earlier than expected and landed far too close for comfort. It was, if you'll forgive me, a close shave.

At five metres up, an even bigger branch cracked under my handsaw and swung back towards my ladder, knocking it sideways.

I called it a day.

Shaven ones, ignore Old Testament wisdom at your peril.

I'm a few days into re-growth and it simply can't grow fast enough.

But for now I'm enjoying the cooling breeze on my face and a few fresh cream doughnuts.

So kids, unlike those worshipping in pagan temples, you have nothing to fear. Hairy dad is only a few weeks from materialising.

Mark Story is assistant editor at Hawke's Bay Today.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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