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Contemplating Taking up an Amish Tradition

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By Joe Novak

I am contemplating adopting the married Amish men’s practice of growing a beard.  I admire the Amish for their simpler life without all of life’s material trappings and that married men openly proclaim their marital status by wearing beards. What has brought me to this; my total distain for shaving.

The older this face gets the more difficult it is to shave; the turkey skin around my neck is of particular nuisance. I have four different styles of razors in my arsenal of stubble removal and non-works perfectly. Since I refuse to shave every day, I must deal with the different lengths to which I allow it to grow and this determines the procedure I employ. Often, I start with hair trimming clippers getting it down to a manageable safety razor length. After shaving and allowing my face to completely dry, I use an electric shaver to get the areas the safety razor missed or refuses to shave cleanly…ugh!

I am certain someone reading this is thinking; why not just let your beard grow out? I have tried this solution; however, I arrive at a point where the itching drives me crazy and I am back removing natures curse on my face. I can tolerate a beard under my chin that married Amish men grow but I am not completely sold on that idea, I would hate that someone thinks I am mocking that practice. I would need to wear a beard net in the kitchen since I do most of the cooking; possibly the reason most Amish men don’t cook!  

When I was a lab Tech for TRW, we had an instrument to determine the toughness of various types of wire. It was determined that my beard had the same toughness as soft copper wire of the same diameter. Granted this was extremely soft copper used in very delicate instruments; never the less, I have a tough beard! My wife shies away from kissing me when it gets to a length that the abrasion factor exceeds her comfort zone. She doesn’t mind the look of her “rugged” Joe until I resemble a railroad bum then she drops subtle hints it’s time to freshen up. I am always rewarded with a few kisses as she strokes my clean shaven cheeks; life once again returns to wonderful! 

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