Sideburns and Beards.

A few weeks ago I shaved off my "beard". I had grown it over a few months, it going from scraggly ginger offshoots to a substantial amount of rather thin and wirey hairs all over my face. I have decided that I like the look more than being clean shaven to a point and I am going to let it grow back in - which is where the interesting fun is to be had.

I am not hairy in anyway shape or form. Little to no hair on my chest and my arm hair is frightfully blonde, but I am cursed with Celtic parentage so my beard comes in gingery. I have no realy problem with that - at least I am not of the freakiest Alistair Daring black-eyebrows-gret-hair team but the rate at which my new beard, which we shall call 2.0, is growing back in is at least 10 times faster. In deed, I had a vague mustache and goatee 3 days after last shaving at the weekend, and now have a slight stubble on my cheeks. Cultivation is key to the early stages of a beard.

But recently I was looking back at some photos of my friends and found one with me and my incredibly long hair. I used to have hair that went down to beyond my shoulders - quite the length for a man. I now have a middle to long hair cut and this weekend it will be shorter - but the surprising thing was when I went to shave Beard 1.0 off I found horrendously long side burns that had been hiding from my eyes underneath the long swathes of thick head hair.

The sideburns are so neglected in facial hair circles but are crucial to the full flow of hair from the head down to the chin and neck. In one photo Shayan, who can grow an incredible beard in 10 minutes, being dark skinned and middle eastern, had in a photo from yesteryear a brilliant set of sideburns. The were fabulous. I can only dream of that kind of facial hair.

Grasping

I went to a party this weekend. I have been several parties in my life, and some are great and some are middling. This one was pretty good fun, until my lady friend had a little too much to drink and I realised that I hadn’t had enough. The thing about parties that I really enjoy is the people watching that you can get done. Basically, throwing together a group of loosely linked friends is kind of like a shortened version of big brother.

Everyone knows at least one person in common, and that might be the only link between the people. This means strained conversations and people making slightly weird venturing sentences, to try and see if they have anything in common. For the older generation, things like Holidays and Children are great “grasps” as they can exchange stories about how they are looking for something better than what they have now or tales about their children’s failings in real-world™ scenarios. This is the way of the polite conversation.

For the younger generation music, films and TV are good starters for ten, but really I find it hard to keep from my opinionated stylings when someone is talking about the latest Top Gear, Snow Patrol or Match of the Day – I am not for keeping my thoughts to my self (obviously, having a blog).

When a real gamble is made in venturing into real territory that might cause upset, such like personal vices, if such a connection is made then they grab it and don’t let it go. For example, one such exchange lasted almost the whole night because a connection had been found. This is not unusual – it happens in work and even in older friendships that might have been slightly waning. Work is worse – one slip of the tongue and you can be painted as a “weirdo” or “bland” by uttering “I don’t like football” or “I don’t really watch TV” or in my case, “I listen to music”.

When people hear about my musical taste, being that it might be the thing that I enjoy the most in my spare time, I can only grimace as I list bands that I listen to regularly that they may never have heard of. This is nobodies fault, but I feel bad for being obtuse and they probably feel bad for asking about it in the fist place.

Small talk is impossible to avoid and is something that I have had to get used to. I am not yet at a level that I can create endless banter with familiar strangers, like when I am offshore, but I feel that I can weave my way through a meeting with a mutual stranger without being completely foolish.

PS.
I recently installed Google Analytics to my blog in an attempt to blow my ego up further through finding out exactly how many people read this blog. In a month, 1000 views and 400 unique visitors happen upon this place, from 21 countries.