Thursday, November 1, 2012

The care and feeding of a Mo

Let me put up my hand and confess. I have a Mo. Perhaps some of you have noticed. I've had it for such a long time that I do not know what my face looks like without it. There are maybe a few dozen photos of me without it.

The reason is remarkable pragmatic. I nearly cut off my upper lip while figuring out how this shaving thing worked. My father deeply disapproved, and made his opinion known, but he could never say the words "porn star." Mind you, back then I'd have probably thought it was a compliment. Perhaps he knew.

A Mo takes a long time to come into it's own. A month is hardly enough to be considered fairly started. At that point you barely know what it will look like, and what the possibilities are. It needs to be gently shaped to suit your face, the rest of the hair on your head, and your personal style. There are a million subtle Mo styles out there, and all that I'll say about them is that most wouldn't work for me.

First thing is that you have to take care of it yourself, gently trimming it to shape. Just as a vineyard knows the footsteps of the owner, a Mo knows that it is loved when the owner pays attention to it. At least once a week I trim mine, and whenever necessary deal with any stray hair that got missed. It is much better to make frequent small trims, rather than a drastic periodic one.

I learned that lesson during lunch one day. I had been trying to grow it longer, thinking about doing the handlebar style. Then I took a big bite of a kaiser bun sandwich, not noticing that much of it was in my mouth. That was not fun. I trimmed it back right away.

There are certain rules to facial hair. One can grow a Mo by itself. One can grow a full beard, lightly shaped for neat edges depending on just how your face and neck produce hair. If you're married or in a relationship, or have a job you'd like to keep, you'd best keep it neatly trimmed. There are many variations on less than full beards, and they are all wretched, or worse. The fat guy trimming a thin beard line to make people think he as a jawline? Beyond wretched. The soul patch, the goatee, the mutton chops, and many others, all wretched. Long and wild is fine if you're a biker, or a survivor of a long lost Arctic expedition. You may think it makes you look like a rebel, but it really says you're too lazy for even minimal personal grooming. I am sure not to stand downwind of such people. I am undecided about long, full beards that are fully or partially braided and meticulously kept. In theory I think it could be a very, very manly look, but I think you'd have to be starting with a very, very manly look before the beard.

There are some ethnic groups that don't grow facial hair very well. No value judgement, it's completely a genetic thing. Men are allowed a period in their youth to find this out about themselves.  They might be the one guy in their gene pool that actually can grow facial hair and have it look reasonable. (Expecting to have sex during this period is unreasonable.) Once you have completed this experiment you have a choice. If it grows in and looks at least almost reasonable, just like the rest of us you can grow it or shave. If it doesn't look good, please just resign yourself to a lifetime of shaving.

Many women have an aversion to facial hair. On their men too. My hairstylist at the time was really down on my beard, and encouraged me to cut it off. She did the snoopy dance of joy when it went away, and encouraged the Mo to go too. Not gonna happen. I think the opinion is formed during the rough patch that follows missing a day shaving, and having the beard fill in and the ends soften up. Women, let your guy express himself with the Mo. And a beard too. Most men after a while will realize that in fact it is not a time saving, as trimming a beard can take a long time to come out nice.

During my last month long vacation in Nova Scotia I decided to grow a beard again, mainly because I was feeling lazy. I was pretty sure it would fill in ok. What I wasn't prepared for was the gray strip from my lower lip down towards my throat. The edges under my ears are still mostly red. It looked dreadful, and at the 3 week mark I shaved it off.

I am looking forward to seeing the different Mo styles over the next month. Please post photos!

Swimming with the bulkhead centered in the training pool at Talisman is weird. I'm used to having it set up as a 50 m pool, and I swam that way many times over the summer. Today I'd be getting into the groove, and the wall would be right there again. It seemed like I was doing a turn every few strokes, and it always came sooner than expected. They weren't smooth turns and it took a bit longer than usual to settle in, so the K was a bit slow, 18:45. Lots of dolphin kick and pull, 45 minutes.

My inner shark showed up for part of the swim. He was trying to help, pointing out my head was moving back and forth, and my arms were crossing over centre a bit, and my elbows were dropping, and my flip turn sucked, and I was being very slow. He also can't understand why I wasn't swimming under the bulkhead each time and going for the full 50 m. He was a little bored that there wasn't any other prey to chase in the pool. Still it was nice of him to drop in. Haven't heard from him in a little while. I should have asked if he was at the shark resort again.

Home and on the bike 90 minutes. Warmup long and gradual, hams and calves a bit cranky. Then 20 minutes at 225 watts with a very reasonable heart beat, under 130. Legs felt pretty good. Easy. Then 10 minutes at 250 watts, with my heart rate between 135 and 140. I think if I'd started at 250 I could have done that for the 20 minutes, but it would have been a bit of a stretch. Cool down with some easy fast spin. Progress is being made. Stretched a bit after.

Female readers, what are your thoughts on Movember?


  1. Laudable goal to grow facial hair...doesn't always work. But for charity and awareness it's ok. Ask Kris for a pic sometime.

  2. I think he would look good with a full beard. And you're right, it doesn't always work, even a guy with a full head of hair might produce a scraggly beard. Or vise versa.

  3. Well, maybe you can give Kris some beard growing tips, but it was not coming in evenly. It did not look good.

  4. When I see him weekend after next. For sure.


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