April 29, 2009

Beard Discrimination

This sign sits in Tarboro, a small community just north and west of where I live. Am I the only one who sees humor here? This is the kind of support some troops might really appreciate.

This is gonna hurt but I have to write about a painful experience (other than the $158 for groceries) at Wal-Mart the other day. As I was walking out I stopped to look at the red box video dispenser to see if any movies looked appealing when the girl greeter/cop came up behind me and asked to see my receipt. I’ve got about a dozen bags of groceries, no large screen TV’s, no cases of beer, no firearms or fishing poles, no Bulldawg paraphernalia, just groceries. She actually perused the receipt long enough to verify that I had indeed bought Eight O’Clock coffee, Horizon organic milk and (I am shamed to admit it) Oreo’s.

I stood there wondering what was going on, this had never happened before. Then I saw the look in her eye. It was the beard. I was being follicley profiled! Can a hirsute man not go to the store without suffering this injustice? I was never stopped when wearing a moustache, even a shaggy one. Rise up my bearded brothers (and even a few sisters truth be told) and demand to be treated the same as all the other men afraid to let it all hang out, the same as those pour souls still enslaved by Gillette. Clean cut and respectable do not have to be joined at the proverbial hip. What’s next? Mandatory little white beard booties? Beard burning? Beards to the back of the bus?

I definitely get very different looks with my fine beard, especially from the womens. Unfortunately it’s either, “That poor man.” Or more commonly, “His poor wife.” I can handle the looks of pity and disdain but to actually be stopped on suspicion of stealing deliciously addictive cookies is just too close a trim. The hairy man in me says I should call Arkansas and protest of this injustice, and then go berate the store manager.

Or maybe I should just shave.

At least the folks at church understand.


elizabeth said...


Yeah. Looks often dictate other's actions. this is a difficult one to navigate at times...

Philippa said...


Sorry no beard yet, but I'm happy to join the mustache crowd!!


s-p said...

LOL! When I'm in my work clothes I look like a homeless person. I got shaken down a couple times by the "greeters" at grocery stores. I just smile and chat and bust their preconceived notion. Don't let "the man" hold you down...writer, artist and Orthodox = beard. :)

Justin said...


James the Thickheaded said...

Another victim of Anti-Beard-Establishmentarianism!

Not always fun either. Only thing making it more fun is when everyone you know goes by and says, "You gotta a dangerous one there. Better run him in."

At least your follicle challenge is a choice. Other follicle options... uh... well... what can? We get what we get.