This cartoon me — created by GQ for my profile there — is giving the real me beard envy. Deadly serious beard envy. Like, I look at this beard the same way Kappas look at Benetton mannequins. Now, don't get me wrong. My beard is nice. (Hi beard!) Well, its nicer now than it has ever been. I take great care of it; using all types of combs and fruit juices and prayers and shit to maintain it. And I take pride in the progress it's made. It's like my own little Chia Pet, but if the Chia Pet was attacking my face and smelled like Jack Back Beard Oil with Kalahari Melon Oil & Vitamin E.
But my beard has never been this full, this robust, this luscious, this voluminous, this sheenful, this delectable, this bursting, this Philly. It's a Blaxploitation beard. And not even mainstream Blaxploitation. No Shaft, no Trouble Man, and no Pam Grier, Nah, this is a Dolemite beard. It's a beard Jill Scott would have written a skit about on Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1. Its a Ma Rainey's Black Bottom beard. It's an "I play the trombone for the Roots when they tour through my city. Afterwards, ?uestlove and I always get pancakes and salmon cakes." beard. It's a Kenny Latimore concert beard. An Essence Festival beard. A Must Love Beards beard. A "30% of my wardrobe is comprised of fine linens" beard. It's a bank commercial beard, for a bank in Detroit. If you have this beard and you go to a BBQ — any BBQ — they're immediately putting you on the grill. I love this beard so much that I want to take it on a date.
We'd start at brunch. It would be a light brunch — maybe crab benedict and a bagel, and no bottomless mimosas, just a small pitcher of peach Bellini — because we have shit to do. And then we'd stroll from brunch to a gallery crawl; taking our time — perhaps even stopping at Suitsupply to browse socks and a vintage record store to check and see if they carry Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars — and enjoying the unseasonably mild weather.
Once there, we'd steal a bottle of lukewarm Merlot from a reception for a live art installation about Black postal workers. (The beard would distract the people at the bar while I hid it in my attache.) And then later that evening, we'd drink it while sitting on a stoop and sharing a king sized chorizo burrito from a taco truck. At the end of the night, the beard would invite me in for some popcorn. But I'd pass because I'd want to take things slow because I'd been hurt by beards before. It would understand, and I'd call an Uber. And we'd wait for the Uber together, and we'd talk about chicken.