My First Beard


Back in my youth (and that’s pretty far back now!), I used to do a fair amount of community theatre acting.  I was especially fond of performing with the local children’s theatre company and did so at every opportunity.

One year, we were putting on a production of Cinderella.  I had a supporting role as a Duke; not a terribly important part, but it gave me the chance to wear fake whiskers, at least (At 15, that counted for a lot!).

When I first began performances, the whiskers were rather subdued: I used fake “stage hair” to create long sideburns that melted into a noticeable but not ostentatious handlebar mustache.  As time went on, I grew bolder with the stage hair; by the final performance, the mustache flopped about like a demented sheep dog, and I had added a beard that Albus Dumbledore would have envied.

My dance partner in the big ballroom scene (a mature woman of 16) wasn’t thrilled with how hirsute my face was becoming, and she rolled her eyes when she saw how overboard my facial hair had grown by the final performance.  Still, it was too late to change it, so what could she do?

Now, I had worked with Cinderella’s director before, and I knew that he liked to play little tricks on the cast on the last performance.  Even I wasn’t prepared, however, when in the middle of the ballroom scene, just before Cinderella’s big entrance, I turned to see a big hairy gorilla (the director, of course) suddenly enter stage right, bound to center stage, grab my partner, and twirl her around before quickly exiting stage left.

Everyone else onstage was struck dumb. Not my partner.  She quickly marched over to me, pointed off in the direction the gorilla had just left, and said, “See, Duke Smacksalot? That’s just what you’ll look like if you don’t learn how to use a razor!”

The audience loved it.