Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Confessions of the weekend caveman

I’ve developed some bad habits since I lost my job, but none are so bad than the fact that I’ve stopped shaving on the weekends.

In fact, the reality is that by Monday morning, I look like a Cro-Magnon. Since I usually have to be ready to cover a story during the week, and need to look presentable, I shave on Monday and leave a mass of hairs in the bathroom sink.

Men – and especially single man – tend to revert to cavemen habits when they are alone for too long. I’ve been alone my whole life, and manage to avoid the extremes, but I still have my “game cave” – though I’m nowhere near as bad as the guys on “The Big Bang Theory.” I don’t have an xBox or PlayStation, for example.

For me, the notion of facial hair is something that still gives me a chill, mainly because in my prime hair-growing years, the main goal was to limit hair. I served in the Marines from age 17½ to 21½, and the limits of my facial hair were a tiny moustache. You could have one – we were in the air wing – but the limitations were pretty extreme.

Upon becoming a civilian again, I vowed to grow a moustache, but it has never been a really nice one. But there was a time when I grew a beard. No kidding.

I was working as a copy editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and decided that shaving was a pain. So I started a beard during a week’s vacation, and just trimmed it with an electric trimmer I bought. I hate to say it, but I looked weird with a beard. I actually worried that people would mistake me for a homeless person.

Me and my coworkers would take a break to walk in downtown Sarasota, and I was worried that someone would try to give me money.

Finally, I covered a story while wearing the beard, and was horrified at a picture of myself. I looked like one of those guys who has been confined without shaving equipment. Soon after, I attacked the beard with the trimmer, then broke out the razor and went back to the hairless look on my face.

That story was memorable, by the way, because one of my great heroes was appearing a local science museum, and I had talked my way into covering the story. Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell was coming to Sarasota, and I had seen the event listed while editing the calendar items, and I knew I wanted to meet him.

Mitchell and Alan Shepard had landed on the moon on the Apollo 14 mission, and had explored the Fra Mauro region (Apollo 13’s destination). They had climbed the rim of Cone Crater but had to turn back.

By the way, I had met Buzz Aldrin in July 1989 at 20th anniversary festivities at the South Florida Science Museum. He was a great guy, too, and another of my heroes.

One of the real tragedies for me is that when my beard comes in now, it comes in partially gray. That means either I have to hit the Grecian Formula 16 or just keep shaving.

It reminds me of a MAD magazine thing I saw when I was a teenager. The guy asks a woman if she has noticed his beard, and she says yes and that it’s wonderful. “It makes you look so smart, so distinguished, so … old.” “I’ll shave it off tomorrow,” he replies.

Maybe I should just engage in another caveman activity, like drawing on the walls.


June 24, 2012 - Posted by | Life lessons, Living in the modern age | , , , , , ,


  1. And why no picture to go with this story? C’mon, we all want to see what you looked like.

    Comment by Diana in NYC | June 25, 2012 | Reply

  2. One of these days I’ll dig it out and post it.

    Comment by Vincent Safuto | June 26, 2012 | Reply

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