My father believes, as many people do, that razors thicken the hair and, over time, makes your beard rougher and more difficult to shave. Although denounced by science, this myth has stood firmly in the way of all my attempts to convince dad to let me shave.
This myth would continue to intercept me at every corner until our final showdown in Grade 10.
I was minding my own business in class when one of the popular girls walked up to me. Exercising her status-granted right to invade people’s privacy in the loudest way possible, she asked me at the top of her lungs:
When do you plan to shave? You look like a monkey!
Of course, you will agree with me that assumably, perhaps, probably, and most likely, I did not look like a monkey. But it was easier at that moment to argue with my self-esteem than to argue with the popular girl.
That evening I gave my father an ultimatum: It was either me (backed by science) or the myth. And I would not go to school the next day if I don’t shave first.
My father succumbed. Actually, I would argue that he met me halfway.
He left the house and came back an hour later with an electric shaver. The myth, still in charge here, states that an electric shaver would do less than a razor toward thickening the beard.
I didn’t care though.
I shaved off my beard with a vengeance, like every hair was a word coming out of the mouth of the popular girl.
Climbing into the bed that night, for the first time ever, I got to feel the pillow’s cool, soft surface against my freshly shaved face.
I closed my eyes and dreaded tomorrow.