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No more hiding my face

07/05/2010

Six weeks ago I did something I hadn’t done in almost 32 years. I shaved. My whole face.

In November 1978, when I was 27, after what seemed like an eternal wait – all through the Woodstock years, some of the hairiest in American history – I finally deemed my face whiskered enough to grow a full beard. And I stopped shaving. Until six weeks ago, excepting my neck, I hadn’t shaved a single time since. Not once.

I did this – stopped shaving – for one very compelling reason. I didn’t like my face. I hated it. I always thought myself ugly. No mater what others told me, I could never believe I was attractive. And I mistrusted others – even women I was interested in – who told me otherwise.

Looking back, I think I know what was going on. I was hiding.

In recent years, as my beard grew progressively more gray, while the hair on my head remained dark, my ex suggested – gently, as always – that I might look younger if I shaved. I couldn’t do it. I knew that even though I had been trimming the beard fashionably close in recent years, I’d hate what was underneath.

More recently, I was having lunch with my friend Margaret, who has a habit of being very direct. Apropos of nothing, she looked at me and said, “Honey, you need to dye that beard or get rid of it. It’s making you look old.”

So, there I had it – two smart women who love men and love me, telling me the same thing: Get rid of the beard. Maybe it was time to listen. So I bought some shaving gel and shaved. It looked – and felt – very odd, but I didn’t hate it.

Reaction has been great. Almost everybody I see notices something is different, even if they can’t place exactly what it is. And almost all of them tell me they think I look younger. At 58, I am not complaining about that!

But more important is this: I no longer hate my face. I recognize that I’m no beauty, but I’m not a dog either, and I like my face as it is – wrinkles and all.

It’s all tied to coming out and finally liking myself as I am. Hiding my face for all those years was simply a part of hiding my true self. I was hiding from myself as well as from everyone else. Now that I’m out, there’s no more need to hide.

The implications of this are huge. I am at last open to believe in my own worth. I’m open to receiving from others without guilt and doubt. Which is the only way to be able to give to others without the same sort of baggage.

At last I’m open to having an honest romantic relationship with another human being. It will be a man this time, of course, and I haven’t found him yet. But if he’s out there, it’s good to know that I’m truly available.

I’m out there. In full view.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Margaret Ellis permalink
    07/05/2010 3:14 PM

    David, I have enjoyed seeing your full face. I think this piece is very insightful. I am so glad you are learning to love your wonderful, and I might add, very handsome, face.

  2. 07/05/2010 3:23 PM

    Thanks, hon. I’m getting there.

  3. Joe Branham permalink
    07/08/2010 8:12 PM

    I haven’t gone naked-face in years (not fully at least) and probably won’t until I drop a good 15 “eL Be eS.”

    • 07/09/2010 2:10 AM

      You’ll be handsome either way, my man. And you never were hiding behind that goatee, so there’s no baggage around the choice.

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