Thursday, May 28, 2009

Turning the other cheek

The need for men to shave always felt to me like some kind of twisted gender bias embedded in human DNA.

I know that women have their own set of inconveniences that men don't experience – and some of those horrify me– but at least women don't have to stand in front of a mirror every morning and mow a fresh crop of whiskers off their face.

I never was much good at manscaping my mug. Electric razors don't give me a close enough shave, and razors leave my face bloodied, like I have just escaped from Sweeney Todd's barber chair.

But cancer has given me a much-appreciated reprieve.

The effects of radiation on my face seem to have destroyed my body's ability to grow whiskers. Hair grows above my upper lip fairly robustly, and in random patches on my chin, but it doesn't grow on the rest of my face.

According to the literature my doctors have given me on the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, the beard loss may be permanent.

Hey, I'm not complaining. I can always sprout a 'stache to remind myself of my manhood. In fact, I'm studying the packaging of Brawny paper towels to see if that might be a winning look for me.

Around the time that radiation was wreaking havoc on my facial hair, my best buddy started to allow his beard to grow out.

Just a short while ago, his beard's growth looked like how Granny Hall perceived Woody Allen's character in that scene from "Annie Hall." Currently, he's sporting more of a Paul Bunyan look, and he seems to aspire to become a doppelganger for one of the guitar slingers in ZZ Top.

It's a good look for him but frankly, I don't know how he's able to hold his head upright when the thing gets damp.

Me, I'm still hoping that my life reverts to normal in the wake of this cancer ordeal. But if the consequences of cancer treatment leave me saddled with this itty-bitty side effect, I'd be better off than I was before.

I'll take my Ser-Chia pet lip growth any day.

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