‘All the ladies like whiskers’

I’m in a stretch of a couple weeks where I’m growing the beard longer again. It’s currently the longest it’s been since last summer. In another week or two, it should compete with last June’s peak. The beard is still reasonable and without a shot in a beard-growing contest. But for me it’s something. The only trouble now is I don’t know why I’m growing it.

For the first seven months, I had reasons for the beard. Running out of them this winter, I shaved it. But then the winter was still cold. Reason found! The beard came back. Then I started dating again for a while. I dialed things down — there’s a knob — to different degrees of stubble.

Currently, though, neither of those conditions exist. Add the humidity, and you begin to worry about Cooper Beard 2010-11. Is there a riot brewing? I’m a little bored, and my beard is restless. Every bearded man has heard the old phrase, “Idle hands are Norelco’s workshop.”

I just want a good reason to have the beard or not have the beard. Not an argument or theory, mind you, but a good, everyday reason.

Like Abraham Lincoln once had.

Back in the day when a girl could correspond with a¬†politician¬†without anyone losing their pants, 11-year-old Grace Bedell wrote candidate Lincoln, saying: “I have got 4 brothers, and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you. You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.”

Lincoln was skeptical. “As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affect[at]ion if I were to begin it now?” he replied to the girl. But, as the NYT explained last fall: “Just days after his election, though, he made up his mind. ‘Billy,’ he supposedly told his barber, ‘let’s give them a chance to grow.’ ”

Out driving yesterday, I felt like ditching the beard so I could be more aerodynamic. The next minute, I wanted to keep the beard because it made a good hideout, which of course was why it’d ever come about.

2 thoughts on “‘All the ladies like whiskers’”

  1. I just shaved off a week of stubble in plans for a return to the office. I considered leaving it just to see what people would say. Then i read this and almost regret shaving.

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