Well we ‘crossed the line’ and it was the first time for many of us and we all had to pay homage to Neptune and his queen, pay our forfeits and celebrate with a beer. Then some bright spark came up with the idea of a charity head & beard shave after dinner. It’s amazing how close ‘friends’ can suddenly recall comments that were made when Noah was still waiting for rain. “You always said that if you did an AMT that you would shave” and the old favourite “Well it is for charity”. Moments of macho bravado fuelled by Plymouth gin over the course of very convivial evenings in pleasant company came rushing back to haunt me. A cold fear gripped me in areas that I thought redundant and I suddenly knew with great clarity how a cornered rat feels and that there is no greater laxative than fear.
I’ve had my beard for 34 years and never once has my wife or teenage son seen me without a positive and permanent facial covering. My son is a good looking lad who obviously takes after his mother’s side of the family and, if he ever witnesses the aftermath of this evening, he may need therapy to prepare for the mid-life metamorphosis that we all experience as we change into our dads. As for my poor long-suffering wife, she would probably open the front door on my return and close it again muttering that we don’t need double glazing or run screaming to the back of the house.
I went to the ship’s bar with trepidation and watched a few lads losing their hair and ending up with Mohicans or their national flag and then it was suddenly my turn. With very watery insides I took a slow walk to Sweeny Todd’s chair and the clippers started. Figures flitted around and my face buzzed and vibrated, my time-lapsed brain was struggling to keep up – my life as a hairy man was being transformed into life as a chinless wonder. Deep-rooted panic? – not really, just resignation and the realisation that when you’ve had a beer too many (shoreside) it pays to listen and keep your mouth shut.
Anyway, I was allowed to keep my moustache so life wasn’t too bad. When I finally got to look into the mirror I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t so bad after all – my opinion, others varied. Being likened to a Mexican bandit was OK but to a Swedish star of dubious films was brilliant, until my female colleagues doubled up with laughter. Still 5 seconds of fame before the fall back into obscurity.
It was a great evening and we raised a significant sum for the ship’s designated charity for widows and orphans of sailors – so all in all very satisfactory.
I’m going to let it grow back before I get home, take a few photos as mementoes, and who knows, now that I’ve done it once I may brave public places clean-shaven for charity in the future. There I go again …. Bravado ….. and on coffee only! BERK.