King David pretended to be mad to escape the clutches of King Saul, taking refuge with the King of Gath and we are told that saliva dripped down his beard. Which is ironic really, since David, as a beardless youth, ‘made his bones’ by well-aimed missiles at another gargantuan Gathite, probably spectacularly bearded. Perhaps he used the beard as a line of sight. Unlike Cain, who was ‘an hairy man’, his brother Abel was a ‘smooth man’ whom as a child I always imagined to be superior – the languid, aristocratic type casting the odd glance at the sheep – over the agricultural, barbate peasant, grunting with effort to wring crops from the earth. Which brings me nicely to today’s offering. It’s ironic that I find myself with something discreetly silver and well-trimmed, almost accidental stubble.
Facial hair creates its own demographic. If I can be persuaded that constantly fingering the thinly forested areas makes me look juvenile, I might keep it for a while. If it looks like a fungoid growth as a result of dripping saliva or food remnants, I might not. If it ever grows to Rasputinesque proportions, I’ll join a monastery, where I can fiddle with it to my heart’s content.