I’m sure you all remember my son, Archie. He was a nice looking boy; clean-cut and shaven. I was proud to walk down the street with him.
These days I cross the street.
Everything was fine until a few months ago. We had his 21st, he was working hard at uni, he had a good job and then there were changes. In his appearance. And it started when I took a leave of absence and went to New York.
I came back and barely recognised him. Where was my good-looking son?
Gen-Y’s have issues. They seem to think a full face of facial hair is fashionable, alluring, attractive and totally cool. They’re deluded. And Archie’s not alone; 50% of the Wallabies are sporting beards. They used to beat the All-Blacks before they obsessed with facial hair.
His father and I pulled him aside and asked, ‘Have you joined a terrorist organisation?’ When Archie denied it was politically motivated I asked him, because there are a lot of deluded Gen Y’s out there, if he thought he was the reincarnation of Ned Kelly. He laughed but was rather proud I thought he looked like Australia’s most notorious bushranger.
A few weeks ago his father slipped him twenty bucks and said, ‘Take this to the barber and if you won’t shave it off, at least get it trimmed’. When I heard Archie returning home my hopes soared. Only to be deflated. There was zero difference. ‘Did you go to the barber?’
‘Yeah, I did’.
‘What did he do?’
‘He trimmed it.’
‘Just under here’, and Archie pointed to a spot on his neck. I had to go right up to his face with my glasses on to try and see the evidence. There wasn’t any. I think he spent the twenty bucks on beers.
Archie’s put us through a lot of punishing phases and so I asked him how long this phase is expected to last. ‘I think I might keep it, mum’.
‘You cannot be serious’.
‘Well I thought I’d get sick of it but I’m not. I’m really liking this look. And the comments; mum; you should hear the comments I get at work; everyone loves it’.
‘You work in a pub surrounded by drunk people. People who are inebriated have poor judgement. You’ve proven you can grow a beard, now go into the bathroom and shave it off’.
‘It’s not coming off, mum; I’m keeping it until November’. Eight weeks.
‘I’m shaving off the beard then, but I’m keeping the mo. November is Mo-vember’.
‘But the idea is that on the first of November you start growing a moustache’.
‘Mum, I’m going into Mo-vember with an advantage. Did you see the double curl?’ I had to leave the room. I can’t look at the double curl.
Archie will finish his degree at the end of this year, (if I pray hard enough) so I’m trying to find things for him to do next year. In Perth. I think Archie would like Western Australia. And we could communicate by text messaging. Not Skype – I wouldn’t want to see any close-ups.
So…I thought I’d share this with you in case you’re wondering why I’m a little out of sorts; depressed even. It’s because just when you thought you’d done a good job of raising your son, he becomes an idiot and grows a beard.
One day soon, I hope to show you a photo of the Archie I raised.