the devil made me do it

Full disclosure: my granddaddy was a barber for 65 years. He had one chair in his very small shop in Richards, Texas, the tiny town where I grew up in the 1950s. For most of the time I can remember he charged 50 cents for a hair cut and 25 cents for a shave. His customers usually requested both.

I was mesmerized by the swish, swish of his straight edge razor against the leather strap before he began the fascinating ritual of the shave with the white foamy shaving cream and his precision stroke of the open faced razor against each man’s face. The hot towel, the after-shave lotion. Every time I smell Old Spice I can see him shaking the bottle twice, pouring the lotion into his hands, rubbing his hands together and then carefully smoothing that lotion over his customer’s face to complete the ultimate in male pampering.

My granddaddy was a magician with scissors when he cut hair, but he was an artist with a straight edge razor blade. Ask anyone who ever had one. Ask me. When I was five or six years old, he gave me a pretend shave that I have recorded in much happy detail in my first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing.  (Sheila Gets a Shave is also included in the Rainbow Radio Anthology if you have a copy.)

My point of this lengthy background is to partially explain my faux pas at our family Thanksgiving dinner last night which, by the way, was great fun with Pretty, Pretty Too, Number One Son, Sis-in-law and Brother-in-law. I could have described the evening as perfect with an excessive amount of traditional food that was mouth-watering, lots of laughter, great conversation that included agreement on the politics and sports activities of the day.

Yes, it really could have been perfect until… for some unknown reason I said to Number One Son how happy I was to see that he had no beard this year. Pretty chimed in and asked him if he was using the electric razor we bought him for Christmas (hint, hint) two years ago, and he said he was. Someone asked Pretty, Too if she preferred him with a beard or without, and Pretty, Too had the good common sense to say she really liked him either way. That should have been my signal to give the topic a rest.

Instead, the devil or the cocktails got in my head and without a filter, I began to R-A-N-T about beards and how much I HATED them – every last one of them. Why in the world can’t men just shave, for God’s sake? The more I ranted,  the more I felt the rest of the group becoming very quiet. Sometime you can just feel an awkward silence descending on a gathering. You could have heard a pin drop when I stopped to catch a breath.

( r.) Brother-in-law, Pretty, Pretty, Too, Number One Son

(I am the one in the front with my foot in my mouth.)

Sigh. Oh, well. Nobody’s perfect. I tried to tell Brother-in-law I didn’t mean his specific beard because his beard was really very well-groomed, but alas, Brother-in-law advised me that when I found myself in a hole, it would be better if I stopped digging. And I did.

In the end, we all parted friends and were still planning to get together at Christmas which I took as a good sign that all was forgiven.  Moving on to Merry Ho Ho!!

Hope all of you had a fabulous Thanksgiving with family and friends and that the rest of your weekend will be a fun one. I plan to lay low, no cocktails, no opinions on anything.

Stay tuned.



About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to the devil made me do it

  1. This made me laugh. I know that “Movember” has men growing mustaches and beards for a good cause, but I’m with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Harry Hamid says:

    I’ve had a beard for about 14 years now, and most people feel like you do, so I’m sure it’s not the first time your brother-in-law has heard it. I keep mine because, well, a scruffy beard is preferable to what’s under it. I don’t know why others keep theirs…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Could Pretty not kick you under the table? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Luanne says:

    Can you hear me laughing all the way from here?! So awkward! Well, that was kind of him. But these scruffy beards the 30 somethings wear are not only unattractive but a mystery to me AND to the gardener. How are they always so short?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wayside Artist says:

    In vino veritas! Those darn holuday cocktails will get you everytime.
    Small comfort, but I agree you. My younger elder brother has an impressive beard invariably filled with crumbs. Yuck. Please shave.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.