I have probably shaved if not every day then almost every day with occasional leaps when I couldn't be bothered/ wasn't planning to leave the house or kiss anyone/ had an abrasion or what about that terrible sore on my lip in 1996, since about 1980. With one exception - 2006 or thereabouts, when I had a go over a month or 5 weeks at growing a beard (what was I thinking? I now cannot remember, but it really didn't work) and the last two weeks. I have received almost only compliments to one negative criticism (most recent, from a work colleague also bearded: 'nice growth')* which is interesting, and I am not sure what to make of the compliments either, because I don't think I have ever complimented a man on his beard, although I suppose I do have the weird habit - I don't know where I picked it up - of complimenting men on their shirts (and telling women they 'look well', usually only when they do).
It is weird. It feels strange particularly in the morning, like something is wrong. By the afternoon, though, I quite like it. If I take my hand and stroke it down my face it feels like I have put glad wrap on my face, or paper (without the rustling paper sound). I am not sure whether it looks convincing though. I am also appreciating that one has to maintain a beard, which sounds like a hassle, and I am no good at maintaining the hair on top of my head, so am I really going to get any kind of decent regime going with hair on the front of it? Probably not, and people look at that more.
So, every day I think 'I might just get rid of this', and then I kind of think 'well, I'll stick with it a little while longer just to see', and I guess this is how fascist regimes take hold, right?
*Then later someone whose opinion I respect told me it looked 'very good', so that settles it.