I always wanted to grow a goatee. I’ve just always thought it was cool. Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites type cool.
There are two groups of people for my generation, I think. Those for whom Reality Bites struck a chord, and those who watched Singles and thought it spoke to them. Both movies were about people who were older than me, but it was a world just around the bend, or so I thought. The difference was, Singles, and I saw this as someone who adores Cameron Crowe, seemed like a bunch of 30-40 year olds donning Gap ad clothes, picking up the pseudo hip lingo, fawning something that was now out of their reach: youth. A quality flick, but contemplating the sharing of a remote control as a relationship rite of passage? Something along those lines just seemed too far off in life for me.
But Reality Bites spoke to me. More to the point, Ethan Hawke’s character. It was one of the first times I saw a character on screen I identified with. His sense of loss and confusion, his anger, the feeling that he knew a bit too much a bit too early, saw the hustle to world my friends seemed all too excited to race to join. I was apprehensive, to say the least.
And then there was his stupid goatee.
If I was really honest I would trace my facial hair fetish back to 90210. I don’t remember quite how old I was when the show broke out, but I was still of an age that there were few boys my age at school with legitimate hair to speak of. It was their sideburns. I don’t know why I liked them, because in truth I thought Brandon and Dylan were gigantic pussies. Always whining and bitching and stabbing each other in the back. They were like the kids who got the crap beat out them on the playground, less like people I looked up to. Still, I was fascinated by their ability to grow facial hair.
This might be something that every guy goes through when he’s younger. I think the need to shave is something, before we realize what a pain in the ass it is to scratch your face daily, that most guys look forward to. My father had a full beard until I was 11 or so; in the genetics pool things were looked promising.
That’s what I thought at 14. The sideburns would be here soon, I thought. Facial hair is on the way. And I thought that at 15. And then 16. When college arrived, I thought for sure I’d be sprouting whispers any day now. The truth is, I probably gave up on the entire notion that I’ll ever be able to grow a full beard, let alone sideburns, let alone a full styled goatee that actually connects the bottom to the top at any point in my life about 5 minutes ago. I think I’m taking it rather well so far.
Men of Spanish descent can’t really grow facial hair. I blame this on my grandfather, a man I’d like to refer to in my blog as the Mother Fucking Son of a Bitch, but I worry I readers wouldn’t get the reference. I’m not really ready to deal with his legacy here yet. But I think my inability to grow a beard stems from those roots. Instead, I’m stuck with a Johnny Depp style stash, my Chico Stash as I’ve come to know it.
It grows in, sometimes scribbling itself across my top lip and around my chin. If I’m patient enough, after a week or two, it can even come in rather nice. I trim and care for it. I kind of like it, but at times it can get a bit unruly and I get pissed and just hack it off.
Plus, if I’m patient enough, the full Ethan Hawke might bloom full force on my face one day soon. I’m 28 now, so maybe by the time I’m 30 it will have come in. Maybe 32. Yeah, that seems like the right time for this damn thing to come in.