Beardo – a post about traveling with a beard

I wrote this about a year ago, and had planned on using it in some spoken word type scenario – but that never actually panned out. So here it is, for anyone who is so inclined to enjoy. Comment, let me know what your beard looks like.

Beardo.

I’ve gotten pretty used to the stares by this point. the shrieks of ‘rabbi’ and ‘bin laden’ are met with a half smile and a nod of recognition. i am a white man with a beard, and that’s confusing to people.

‘i’ve got to ask, is it for religious purposes, your beard?’
“i don’t know, is your obesity for religious purposes?”

‘is that real? Can I touch it?’
“your face is [vomiting noises]”

i was blessed with a full face of hair, which is more than i can say for my head (thanks dad). some may call it a blessing, others a curse. In high school when i got my first chance to really shave, i cleaned my face quickly with water and a disposable bic razor. the whole ordeal took no longer than four minutes, accounting for ample admiration in the mirror. the young face, once a ripened peach draped in velvet, now a chiseled marble stone, smooth as silk.

i’d say i’ve gotten ‘used’ to the routine punishment dealt to me by the TSA due to recent safety regulations, in fact, if i wasn’t currently involved with a young lady, i might just schedule flights more frequently to receive their top selling ‘routine inspection’. I prepare my statement beforehand in preparation for their profiling:
‘i’d like to referee the scan please. wait, referee? I mean, [ahem], i’d like to refuse the body scan thank you’

that is usually met with a roll of the eyes, a loud audible sigh, and a scuttle in order to provide me with someone who can handle a ‘male opt out’. This is more often than not followed by the body scanner line being shut down completely and shifting the crowd to the metal detector line.

I wait. and wait. occasionally requesting i be walked through the metal detector like everyone else, which is promptly met with a snarky refusal. The TSA always appears to be understaffed, making this type of treatment obnoxious to them and all of the other travelers.

They walk me over to the side where they explain to me what will happen next.
“I will run the back of my hands under your arms and across your back, along your inner thighs until i feel resistance, around the band of your pants searching for …” anything?

I begin to hum ‘God Bless America’, softly to myself at first, and when i build up the confidence i crescendo into full song. The routine is generally ignored and I begin to quiet down as the situation becomes awkward with no support.

The blue non-latex gloves (just in case i’m allergic?) come off, and they go into a machine. A green light illuminates, i’m reunited with my carry on items and sent on my way.

This happens at every airport.

I think I liked it better when I just blended in