But for me? I never had any guts. Even in the 1990s, when every other guy I knew was sporting a goatee, I never went there. Truth is, I just didn't have it in me. At the time, I said I didn't want to be just another guy with a soul patch, but it was really because I was a wimp.
But part of me -- oh, sweet rebellion -- is just aching to grow a full-on, crazy-ass Joaquin Phoenix beard.
The closest I came was a few years ago. I sort of did it! I grew a full beard, and I'll be damned if it didn't come in red. Red! It was like looking in the mirror one day and realizing you're actually Asian.
Then, the downfall.
My son's piano teacher came over. Great teacher, but a very mousy individual. He was just the quietest, nicest, most soft-spoken guy in loafers you ever met. He was always hesitant, like he didn't want to disturb anything. And he had a beard. It looked just like mine. So when he saw me, he said, "You're growing a beard! Now we look just like each other!"
My heart sunk. I shaved it off that night. And I've never gone back, because here's a hard lesson for a thirty-something guy to stomach: when you think you're being a crazy rebel, more often than not, you're just a mild-mannered piano teacher.