Tonight I walked into the Little Café Near Home with no beard. My beard rarely comes off but I have been in this place with a naked face before. Franta, who sports an ill-kempt gray beard himself, gave me a hard time about it. I said something not provably false: It’s because of a woman. (Secretly I suspected that this whole audition for the role of a butler was a plot by sister in law and mother of sister in law to get me to shave. It turns out I underestimated them and their conniving ways. I am a) shaven b) family looked out for, and c) a potential coup with the client, anticipating his needs before he does.
I’m good with that.
So tonight I’m clean-shaven, though not terribly respectable, and I can honestly (though deceptively) blame a woman. It was the perfect, unassailable explanation. A woman. Men have done far stupider things than shave for a woman, and they always will. Rather than harsh on me, the guys at the bar thought, man, he got off light. When I said the beard would be back soon, they nodded in understanding.
I had typed that the dumbest things men do, they do to impress women, but the counterexamples came flooding into my head. Genocide, and shit like that. Honestly, now that I think about it, the best things men do are to impress women. Leave him to himself and man is an idiot.