Stubble trimmer could be the perfect gift

December 12, 2011|By TIM ROWLAND

I am not vain, a point most people will respond to with a pinched, "well obviously."

One of the reasons for this is that I'm more into convenience. I could no more imagine using a hair dryer than I could waxing my car every morning before I drive to work.

So on the subject of shaving, I naturally gravitate to the process that requires the least amount of work. Like a lot of guys, I discovered that if I shave twice a week it's less effort in the morning, but at the same time it does not require the maintenance of a full-time beard, which includes grooming, dying and plucking entire Ritz crackers from its depths.

This also cuts down on the use of consumer products — ever since razor blades started beeping if you try to remove them from the store without deactivating them, they have been too rich for my blood. And if you're gray, just go with it. No sense walking around looking like you just rubbed your dome with a tin of black shoe polish.

Gray means you've lived life and now you're due some relaxation. Take a cue from old dogs, whose fading facial hair is a sign of dignity. A dog has no use for a product called "Just for Golden Retrievers," or something.

And forget the goatee, or as it is more accurately known, the "face mullet." That's the worst of both worlds. You have to shave and do hair maintenance. Forget it.

So I'm comfortable with the twice-a-week shave routine and I've been doing it for maybe 20 years and not thinking much about it, but then I'm walking through a store and see a product that rocked me to the core: a stubble trimmer.

I am not kidding. Apparently there are guys out there who WANT to look as if they've just spent a long weekend in the slammer.

In truth, I thought it was a gag product at first. You know, like novelty hillbilly teeth, or maybe a sarcastic gift for a fellow who's really let himself go. I was dubious enough to look it up on the web, and there it was. The description almost defied belief:

"Achieve perfect, even stubble .... This high-performance trimmer with 18 length settings, special stubble comb and LED display is able to trim perfectly to get the look you want."

Perfect stubble? Forget the jobless rate and the national debt, this is why America is going down the tubes. What's next, perfect ear wax? I know that in a nation where they sell jeans with pre-worn holes in them anything is possible, but it blows me away that a guy would while away precious minutes in the morning pondering which of the 18 stubble lengths he's going to roll with that particular day.

I think we can all agree it's frivolous — but it's more than that, really. To my mind, stubble is something that we cannot manipulate without fatally wounding the pure essence of stubble itself.

Stubble cannot be coached, or trained. Stubble cannot be calculated or confined. Not if we hope to see stubble for the true dereliction and sloth that it represents. Manicured stubble is like a caged bird. When we take away its freedom, stubble ceases to exist as a freely chosen way of life.

I ask you as Americans, what have we become? We cannot make a statement out of stubble. Stubble is not political; stubble has no opinions or presumptions. Stubble is not jealous or boastful; stubble is not arrogant or rude — well, maybe a little rude, but only if you take it the wrong way.

Bottom line, stubble — real, true stubble 'says "I don't care." The stubble trimmer says, "Oh yes we do, sweetums." That's a line that American masculinity never should have crossed.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at Tune in to the Rowland Rant at, on or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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