The Hairy Truth

2 Jul

Letterbalm Guy with BeardDear LetterBalm: I’ve been married to my husband for 20 years, and for the past decade he’s had a beard. I can’t bear it. It’s thick and untrimmed. He looks like a guy marooned on a desert island without a razor. To make it worse, his beard is a different color than the hair on his head. He gets food caught in it, and I don’t even want to kiss him. Our two kids have wisely stayed out of this, except for one time when our daughter said the beard looked like something out of “Duck Dynasty.” My husband took this as a compliment, and said that everybody at work thought it was cool. He’s in construction, so his beard is no problem for his work. I’m ready to take a pair of scissors to his face while he sleeps. He’s a great husband and father, and I wouldn’t mind if he trimmed and groomed his beard, but help!  

–Losing the Battle

First, stop vocalizing about the beard. It only makes your husband more determined not to compromise on his hirsute look. Be gentle and offer an incentive: You’ll pay for a barber shampoo, groom and trim, and then take him to his favorite store to buy him something you can afford that he’s really been wanting (Video game console? Bowling ball? Tablet?). Ms. L.B. realizes you’re treating him like an overgrown kid, but sensitive persuasion is called for in this scraggly situation. Ahead of time, locate a willing barber experienced in handling beards, and have a chat to prepare him for your husband’s hairy reality. Then, talk with your husband after he’s eaten his favorite dinner:

Chet, about your beard, I have an idea I think you’ll like. No, this is not another lecture from your wife. I’ve always told you that you’d look great if your beard were groomed and trimmed. Well, I’ve had a talk with a local barber experienced in working with beards, and he’s willing to take a look at yours. If you agree to letting him shampoo and groom your beard, I’ll pay for it, and I’ll take you to get that new drill you’ve had your eye on, my gift to you. Darling, you know I love you like crazy after all these years, and I would hope that my opinion matters to you. Are you willing to try this and see how you look and feel?

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