I shaved last night! Went from a beard to a goatee with burns- a classic me look. I expected to go into school today and have everyone comment on my newly shorn face; it was not so. In fact, I went the entire day with only one person making a comment about it- the crossing guard outside the school. I don't know if you've ever seen the movie "La Moustache" but I certainly felt like yelling "LA MOUSTACHE!!! LAAAA MOUSTAAACCCCHHHE!" On more than one occasion today. Oh well.
Facial hair for me, and maybe all men and some women, is significant in that it becomes part of my identity. When I sport a full beard I look and feel older which juxtaposes my clean-shaven self when I look like a teenager and feel younger than I actually am. Since being in Korea the beard as added yet more depth by making me feel and appear obviously foreign. It is very rare to see a Korean man with any sort of facial hair; I'm told that being hairy is a signifier of lust here. In fact, there have even been stories of teachers being asked to shave by their schools due to these superstitious complaints. Koreans have on more than one occasion told me that I look like Jesus Christ, the comment is always set-up first by asking if I'm religious/Christian, the answer being "No" never stops the comparative follow up. I'd like to tell them that Jesus was probably not a white skinned, freckly, blue-eyed, Euro-mutt... with a pinch of Native American... but I would make less friends if I did that. Needless to say, now that I've shaved I'll be curious to see how new Koreans interact with me when we meet, looking like Jesus was a good way to break the ice.
P.S. I need winter vacation ideas.