April 16, 2008

Direction with a new look

I have recently discovered that with a BA in English and Theology there are still so many closed doors - it's a bit unsettling. Society has certainly turned against the Jack-of-all-trades. Everything requires some longwinded specialization now (I blame globalization). The lucky students who didn't pursue a BA in the humanities have fairly strong career choices already; however, I duel majored in two humanities, both requiring a masters or Ph.D before I can milk them for some nourishment. I've already put the idea of higher-higher education on the back-burner for a while, so I'm searching for a bit of direction in the world outside academia. Where to start?

In my idle time of job applications and general joblessness, I've decided my first direction is to grow a beard. I have A.J. Jacobs and Robertson Davies to thank for the idea. In A.J. Jacobs' book, "The Year of Living Biblically," he often mentions the strange responses he got from having a biblical sized beard. While Davies, a Canadian author, doesn't talk a lot about beards, he has an awe-inspiring beard which you can almost always see on the back cover of his books. Beards have many meanings: intellectual, religious, status untethered by social expectations (the grizzly mountain man). The meanings might be contradictory at times, but its because facial hair has a different meaning for different groups. Beards sound like they are best experienced, not just read about (if you can grow enough facial hair to do so). So I plan to see what effect a beard has on me.

I am not sure what kind of bristles I can grow, but its worth a shot. In the meanwhile, I'm a bit concerned about finding a job. Most corporations are jumping for the mountain-man for head CEO and most even have dress requirements (that pertain to grooming standards). Beards are certainly looked upon as unnatural in this age of multi-bladed razors, yet I'm hoping that a beard will lead me in a good direction (at least better than a job with a PDF on grooming requirements). So now I need to focus on people who wore beards; look to them for advice. What did they do to find direction?

I've started a list of where bearded men are predominant:
1. In old western movies as scraggly miners and white gentlemen.
2. In paintings in Oxford book anthologies.
3. In the windows of Comic book shops sorting the comics by Heroes.
4. Most orthodox men: the Amish riding in buggies, Christian friars in bland robes, Hasidic Jews wearing black hats over curly locks, and Muslims and Indian Sikhs with various turbans.

Its not a huge list. So I have some more research to do, but in the meantime I have decide to start on the directions that I mentioned: writer, actor or miner, comic book junky, pious devotee, and later additions to the list. I'll look for bearded role models in these fields and follow suit. I have a good feeling about this. It'll be like those makeovers on TV, without the fashion.

Posted by StephanPuff at April 16, 2008 9:39 AM
Comments

Hey Stephan, I think you're the only person I know who would let his facial hair dictate his position in life... Honestly. :) As for people with beards, look up info on Thoreau, Richard Coeur de Lion, ZZ Top, Lincoln, Marco Polo, Joseph Conrad, and Santa. That might help. They had legendary beards too. You didn't specify if you're growing the accompanying 'stache or just the beard... So I'm curious.

Posted by: Karissa at April 16, 2008 1:21 PM

Hey, glad to see you are getting something out of that Jacobs book! I knew that it would be worth your while to read, but I can't say I predicted it would have this effect on you. I wish you luck with your beardyness; I know it's not something I could easily do.

That said, this is coming at a good time for the NHL playoffs (which I hope you've been following). You could start yours out as a "playoff beard" like most of the players. The Cup won't be won for quite some time yet, so I think you could pull it off.

Posted by: Mike at April 16, 2008 1:28 PM

Don't overlook the "evil but suave" essence that one can acquire from a goatee. And having muttonchops with a bowler hat, or going bald with a big mustache, are useful if your goal is to be a supporting character in a steampunk adventure.

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1020/1341553431_60635b8fa3.jpg?v=0

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at April 16, 2008 3:06 PM
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