Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
My mom tore up my picture last week.
Or at least that’s the word I hear from my genial stepdad. He didn’t present the news in a threatening or censuring way. He was “just letting me know.”
Now, when your mom tears up your photograph most people would be all shaken up, like, “OK now what did I do?”
But in this case I had a pretty good idea why.
It’s the goatee.
I’m not generally a big fan of personal facial hair on my personal self but since I’m now living in a land where a bare face is like a bare bottom — wait, that metaphor didn’t work out quite like I planned — I thought I’d give it a try myself.
Saudis typically do sport some form of goatee. The King himself has an amazingly black one. And when I say amazingly, we’re talking shoe-polish- black. It’s good to be the king.
Frankly, part of my motivation is simply to present a somewhat more fierce look to my students. I think it’s working — I recently got a comments that I look like Bruce Willis or Hulk Hogan.
But mom isn’t quite so intimidated. She refused to hang up my brother’s picture on the family wall of fame in the spare bedroom for the past two years when he had his beard. She often complained “I just don’t have any pictures of your brother!”
Of course she saves all my writings in some kind of binder, but I’m thinking my days are numbered as Number One Son if she gets any more hirsute pictures via e-mail.
I try to call her about once a week, even though the connection via my VoIP phone is spotty so our conversations don’t last very long. The first thing she wanted to know this week was: “Do you still have that…thing on your face”?
I’m tempted to post both pre-beard and beard pictures here, but I’m a little afraid you might agree with my mother.