I didn’t make it.

Midnight struck on November 30th and I was still four beards short. While the holiday rush played a small part in my inability to make up lost ground, the awful truth is, I had plenty of time Saturday night and found myself completely over it. If Week 1 was dipping my toes in the water, Week 2 wading in slowly, and Week 3 learning to swim, the final week has been a desperate slapping at the water in an attempt to stay afloat.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so by the home stretch this should have been second nature. Problem is, I’ve spent 27 years putting things off until the last possible, moment, and no 3 week diligence is going to change that.

But enough musing of failures. Onto the train wreck.

Day Twenty-Two: hobo
Day Twenty-Two: hobo

In the continued effort to catch up, this was the result of filling in the Gamekeeper gaps. At one point I thought this was going to be the 5 0’clock shadow, but simulating stubble is really freaking hard to do.

I’ve mentioned before that my hair is really thick and straight, which means the shorter it gets, the thicker and straighter it seems. Cutting strands into pieces creates a veritable storm of little double-pointed daggers flying every which way. You can forget about getting them to spread out evenly.

Photo Nov 27, 1 07 28 AM
Day Twenty-Three: muttonchops

Fun fact: sideburns were originally called “burnsides” after Ambrose Burnside, a general in the Civil War who has some sweet ass muttonchops. We honor him now by calling both styles by completely different names. Turns out he was kind of a screw up who wasted a lot of the North’s resources, so don’t feel too bad for him.

There is something inherently friendly about muttonchops. Like the person sporting them doesn’t have an angry bone in their body. Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead fame seems like one raw mother in name and description, but take one look at the guy and you’d swear he’s that favorite uncle who always greets you with a noogie and a slap on the back. Sure there’s a chance he’s murdered the crap out of some people, but at least he’s on your side.

Photo Nov 27, 11 55 57 PM
Day Twenty-Four: neckbeard

Ah, the dreaded neckbeard. If muttonchops are the jolly uncle, the neckbeard is the distant cousin — barely related and creepy as hell. Behind every horrifying Internet slashfic is a neckbeard. Behind every tasteless joke in the comments section, there’s a cluster of ungroomed hair dangling from a fleshy supplementary chin, probing you about fringe interests you never wanted to know.

The worst part by far is that it forces you to imagine where else its owner has allowed tangles of odorous hair to roam, unchecked by any semblance of personal hygiene. There’s nothing wrong with neck or body hair, but someone who intentionally grows just their neck hair? No telling what unspeakable evils they’re capable of.

It wasn’t all that uncomfortable. I assume that’s to lull me into a false sense of security as its tendrils of scuzzy evil crept into my brain stem one strand at a time. Seriously, if you have one of these, cut it off. Or you might as well tattoo “PEDO” across your forehead.

Photo Nov 28, 11 50 34 PM
Day Twenty-Five: Abraham Lincoln

What a difference a few inches can make. (ba-dump, tss)

The chin curtain might be nearly as reviled as the neckbeard if it weren’t for Honest Abe and those hipster-before-it-was-lame Amish. Speaking of which, why do those guys always seem to have beards but no stache? I have a theory that involves natural birth control. I’ll leave it at that.

I envisioned this being a lot more awesome, but it was late after the Thanksgiving family gathering and I just wanted to sleep.

Photo Nov 30, 3 31 14 AM
Day Twenty-Six: Pai Mei

This may be my crowning jewel.

Times like these I wish I’d started with the big styles and worked my way down so I would’ve had longer hair in the beard and more for the top knot, but that’s not really how not shaving works. Still, it worked out like things I don’t plan usually do.

I took about twelve pictures at first, trying to figure out why it looked off and incomplete before I realized I forgot the eyebrows. Those were key.

Rest assured that if I’m ever capable of growing something like this, I will. And then I’ll punch through boards and stand on swords.

Photo Dec 01, 12 19 29 AM
Day Twenty-Seven: Wolverine

Thirty is a large number. When I first started this whole ordeal, I came up with maybe ten, twelve beards and mustaches off the top of my head. Somewhat surprisingly, there is no dictionary of beards on the Internet (maybe I should get on that) so I did a lot of Googling to come up with my master list, and I was still two short.

When it comes to projects I undertake, I usually have a great idea for a start, a few highlights I want to hit, and how I want to finish. So when Saturday night rolled around and I was still drawing a blank, I decided a step backward was the only way I was going to finish this out. Ideally, this would’ve taken place somewhere between Starburns and the Gamemaker, but ideally I would’ve also had three more clean knives and a third hand to take the picture — but I didn’t so here we are.

Photo Dec 01, 12 43 56 AM
Day Twenty-Eight: grizzly beard

If this looks a lot like the hobo, it’s because it is, only with longer cuts of hair. I had higher hopes for this one, but I hit a point of diminishing returns where the more I tried to layer extra spirit gum-soaked hair, the more spirit gum-soaked hair stuck to my hands. And in my mouth. So I moved on.

Photo Dec 01, 1 07 42 AM
Day Twenty-Nine: random security check

In general, being politically correct isn’t something I spend a lot of time on, but I consciously wanted to avoid naming this… well I’m not gonna say it but it rhymes with “schmerrorist”. One, because that takes away from the comedy of the whole experiment by giving people that awkward “Is that funny or is it offensive?” pause. Two, because that’s not what I was thinking of initially so it would be intentionally offensive to do so. And three, because I really want to avoid landing on any no-fly lists because of that one time I labeled myself a schmerrorist.

I was getting pretty miserable at this point. I wanted to scratch my face off, but I had one more to go.

Photo Dec 01, 1 22 08 AM
Day Thirty: the Wolfman

If anyone ever does me some grievous unforgivable wrong, I’m not going to waterboard them or rat bucket them or pull off their fingernails. I’m going to douse their face in spirit gum and cover them in my hair. Look closely and you can see actual hate in my eyes. That’s how horrible this felt.

In olden times, mobs used to tar and feather people as punishment for… actually I have no idea why they did it, but I know now it was a real dick move. Feathers might be less prickly than my hair, but I’m pretty sure spirit gum’s a walk in the park compared to HOT FRIGGIN’ TAR.

There were at least two more handfuls of hair I intended to fill this out with, but the second I got jabbed in the eyeball with hair, I was done. That said, I still like how it turned out. Some day I’ll show this to my kids/nieces/nephews/etc. as nightmare fuel. You know, to keep them in line.

Ten seconds after this was taken, I was rubbing my face against the garage. If someone had rounded the corner at that moment, they probably would’ve shat themselves or killed me and I couldn’t blame them for either. Thankfully a stupidly hot shower rid me of my misery without incident. I was pretty sure I was going to lose some chunks of face over this one.

So that’s it. It’s done. I’ll do a recap in a few days, but that’s pretty much it. I know I picked up a few extra readers (and a ton of spammers) along the way, so thanks for joining me. I hope you found it at least mildly entertaining. If you feel inclined to keep up with my considerably less-weird shenanigans on a daily basis, follow me on twitter or instagram. I probably won’t follow you back, though. Unless you’re funny. I like funny.

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