Bill once more. After much thought, I decided to try out muttonchops. This required a couple weeks of foundation building, as I started with hair in my chin, but not on my cheeks. Right before Christmas I stopped shaving. It took about two weeks to grow a full-ish beard, like so:

Bill 1 Bill 2

I didn’t get a lot of feedback about my new side-whiskers—except from my ten-year-old niece, who categorically hates all facial hair and who promised me unspecified (but nevertheless disconcerting) “sweet, sweet revenge” unless I shaved.

On Friday, I broke out the clippers and exposed my chin to the light of day for the first time in ten years:

Bill 3Bill 4

Reactions were decidedly mixed. Co-workers seemed to go along with it. One colleague said I looked “crankier.” Another exclaimed, “you look just like Lincoln.” Some felt I resembled a sea captain, so smart-alecky friends started referring to me as “Admiral Bill.”

In all, co-workers treated my whiskers as good fun and a merry jest. And then I went home to face my wife and daughter.

Epic fail.

My wife’s first six words when I walked in the door were not, “hello honey, how was your day,” but “umm . . . no. Grow the beard back.” My daughter reacted with stunned silence.

So it’s back to square one. On Saturday, I shaved back down to a clean face. Of course, I stopped to take pictures at a couple of transition points:

Bill 5Bill 6

Bottom line here—moustaches just aren’t for me.

And now I’m back to this:

Bill 7

That’s not so bad, really. My mom loves it anyway. She gave me a big hug and told me how handsome I looked. She hasn’t done that in a long time. I’ve been told that I look younger.

My niece is less forgiving; she informed me that I still get no reprieve from her “sweet, sweet revenge.” Jeesh. . .

Also, I miss my beard and I’m already starting to grow it back. My chin is cold all the time.