Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shave please!

This post is a part of the 'Shave or Crave' movement in association with

At times I get to travel with some of the most interesting people on the planet. This time, it was Leo. I met Leo during my trip to U.S.A via Doha. Leo was a tall, athletic, fair man who had a long beard. When I say long, you can imagine a foot long jet black beard hair hanging down his face and reaching up to his chest. I wondered if he harbors any parasites within the beard. You could lose your ring in the huge mass of hair if you try to stroke his beard. I even imagined the possibility of him performing this stunt. It looked as if he was unaware of the discovery of razor blades. Why most men mask their facial characters with a beard is beyond the understanding of us ordinary mortals.

We discovered that both of us are to stay in the same hotel in Doha for a day before we can catch the next day's flight to our respective destinations. I casually invited him to join me for the lunch and dinner at the restaurant of the hotel we are planning to stay, not expecting that he would actually turn up. He agreed with a smile, which was slightly disappointing for me because I had hoped that I would have a fun night alone. But now, I've got to put up with a guy who has an incredibly long beard during both lunch and dinner!

The fun started when the metal detector beeped when he tried to clear the emigration at the airport. The airport authorities were bemused to remove a key and an Indian coin from within his beard which caused the metal detector to beep. He later confessed that he had lost that key around a month ago, and had looked for it, but was never able to find it. Now that the customs had recovered metal from him, they led him to a closed room for additional inquiry. It was after a long session of questioning that he was given his luggage and other possessions, and permitted to leave the airport. I was found to be talking with the man before the security check, and both of us belonged to the same city, so the airport officials thought that we were traveling together, and got me doubly checked too. So much price paid for befriending a man with a beard.

At the hotel, the waiters apparently thought that he was my servant. They gave the keys of both his and my room to me, and gave all the luggage to him. I had to tell the receptionist that he was a guest so that she would hand him his key and ask a hotel employee to bring our luggage to our rooms.

Lunch with him was fun. He did not notice a a fried octopus disappearing into his bread before he started to develop itching all over his face. Additionally, it was not possible for him to remove the food particles that was adherent to his beard, so he had to use the washroom several times between and after the meals. Even at the end, I could see the remnants of noodles sticking out from his beard, which he had forgotten to clean up.

After the lunch, I asked him if he had considered shaving his beard. He told that the beard adds to his style. I spend a good half an hour describing him about how I feel about the beard, how big troubles he had encountered because of the beard during the journey, and how wonderful it might be to look like a celebrity if the annoying beard was removed. Now, he seemed to be thoughtful about the idea.

After a few hours, when I was taking an afternoon nap, I heard someone knocking the door. It was Leo. He wanted me to exchange his Indian Rupees for Qatari Riyals. When I asked why he would need the money, he only winked.

At the restaurant for the dinner, I was hoping over hope that Leo does not tun up, because if he does, he might cause to happen something embarrassing with his long beard, and people might mistake me for his partner, and I will get embarrassed too. As I was pouring the soup into my bowl, someone patted on my shoulders. I turned back, and to my surprise, it was Leo.

He was wearing a black suit. A bright red kerchief sticked out of  his pocket. He wore leather black shoes and red tie. I gave a 'Wow' when I looked at his face his beard was gone! There wasn't even one bit of stubble left on his smooth face!He looked more handsome and confident than ever, and was smiling at me. He was the most charming man I ever had met.

We had the dinner together. He told me that it was customary for the members of his region to grow a beard, and that he did not know how easy his life would be without it. He joked over the juice that it was the beard that 'drank' most of the juice he poured into his mouth, and commented that he can now drink without having to 'feed' his beard. We spoke about a lot of things, and he thanked me for giving him money to go to a salon to have his beard shaved. He also informed me that the only stuff he bought from Doha were a pair of Gillette razors and a pack of blades! During the short span of 6 hours between the lunch and dinner, he had conducted significant research about razor blades, and shared with me the fact that razor blades were invented by King C. Gillette, the founder of the world famous Gillette company. He was thankful to me for having mentioned about shaving, and confessed that no woman had ever discussed with him this idea, probably because they were embarrassed to tell a gentleman the prospect of removing what was his prized possession for 10 long years.

We did not meet each other again. But we kept in touch with each other though facebook. It was after around a month or so after my meeting him that he updated his profile picture that shows him without a beard! The picture received 722 likes and 157 comments!

This post is a part of the 'Shave or Crave' movement in association with

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