(above : how the male grooming thing was settled back in the early 1990’s)
The subject of the Red Sox facial hair has been an attractive (?) topic for columnists and bloggers alike this baseball season, and with Boston’s beards closing in on their 3rd World Series triumph in 9 years, the New Yorker’s Roger Angell has no longer resist the temptation to interrupt a clash fraught with tension to declare, “beards are kudzu”. “Fugazy, too,”, former Knick (but not former Bruin) Tim Thomas would surely add if anyone bothered to ask.
Jonny Gomes’s beard—a brown frigate bird’s nest—is among the uglier sported by the hairy Sox this year, and when numbers of his teammates began grabbing it and ritually tugging on it upon his return to the dugout after his blast I was among a minority in the land who were hoping they’d pull it off. Gomes, a nice guy from Petaluma, California, has broad sloping shoulders and a pleasant, or O.K.-ish, everyday expression, but he’s shaved his head now, too, which doesn’t help, unless you’re eager to join the crowding recent hordes of the undead. C’mon, Jonny.
Gomes’s isn’t the worst Sox beard—the title goes to backup catcher David Ross, whose unkempt cabbage includes a clashing streak of white that cascades over his chin—perhaps relic of a childhood moment when he ran into his grandfather in the narrow back hall outside the bathroom. The other catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, has a raggedy garden-border growth, in keeping with the encircling back-yard shrubbery of his hair. Mike Napoli’s beard is thickest; Dustin Pedroia’s the weirdest, since it comes with his desert-saint stare and that repeated on-deck or between-pitch mannerism of opening and stretching his mouth into a silent O: a screech owl with laryngitis.
Where are the Red Sox wives or sweetie pies in all this? Have none of them spoken up—privately or in the Globe or in a thousand tweets—to protest this office fad? How does it feel to wake up, night after night, in immediate proximity to a crazed Pomeranian or a Malamute or an Old English sheepdog stubbornly adhering to the once caressable jaw of the guy on the nearest pillow? Doesn’t it scratch? Doesn’t it itch? Doesn’t it smell, however faintly, of tonight’s boeuf en daube or yesterday’s last pinch of Red Man? And what about the kids—how long can you keep putting them off with another recital of “The Three Little Pigs” or Edward Lear? Who does your husband/significant other think he is, anyway—Dostoyevsky? Brigham Young? Darwin? An Allman brother? Alexander Cartwright?
No matter how you look at it, this might be the most serious diss-by-omission Phil Mushnick’s received in a very long time.