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My Complicated Relationship with Bearded Men by Momma Mia Kerick
Until recently, I was not overly intrigued by men with facial hair. I wasn’t turned off. But I wasn’t drawn in, either. (I know… it’s hard to believe.)
And sometimes I wonder why….
As a child, my burly and boisterous uncle would sometimes greet me by whisking me off my feet, holding me in the air, and chafing my neck with his four-day beard. He called this giving me “vampire kisses” …and it terrified me. At the conclusion of the vampire kisses, he often placed me on the high shelf at the top of the closet in the entry way and then he laughed like it was the best joke ever, which did nothing to ease my anxiety with regard to men sporting facial stubble.
In junior high, I fell in love with the Beatles, who had already broken up at this point, but I had insanely high hopes for their reunification. I spent many an hour sitting on my living room couch with my feet NOT on the coffee table because my mother would KILL ME, listening to Beatles tunes on my record player, and staring at John, Paul, George, and Ringo on album covers. In my twelve-year-old opinion, they were just so smiling and happy and lovable in the days when they were clean-shaven (and wore those adorable matching suits), you know, back when they sang “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. But once they grew those long, unruly beards, all hell broke loose, which led to their break up. I associated their excessive facial hair with EXCESSIVE PROBLEMS GETTING ALONG. Bushy beard resentment set in.
I think my teenage distaste for beards can largely be attributed to my irrational fear of social-life-killing pimples. Yes, zits. Just the thought of a prickly beard rubbing all over my tender cheeks and mouth and chin was enough to make my skin break out from pure anxiety. I figured that being poked mercilessly during a heavy make-out session with wiry facial hair must cause something to happen to sensitive acne-prone complexion—and serious beard burn is not exactly a rejuvenating facial! In high school, pimple prevention required a strict anti-beard policy, even if it was impressive that a fifteen-year-old fellow sophomore could actually grow facial hair.
As a practicing Catholic at Boston College, long hair and a bushy beard brought to mind images of Jesus of Nazareth. I loved Jesus with all my heart, but what I called “the Jesus look” didn’t do much for me in a…in a sexual sense. I mean, Jesus is God. Who gets all dreamy and romantic over… God? Not this girl. My Catholic guilt inspired a further measure of beard-phobia.
Moving ahead a decade, or so, as a young wife and mother I became an avid baseball fan. My team is the Boston Red Sox. 2004 was the best of times for Red Sox fans. Led by Caveman Johnny Damon, we saw plenty of hair—long and unruly, growing without restriction from heads and faces and maybe ears. Hmmm…. I took another look at facial hair. I asked myself what it represented. Freedom from rules, being a super cool dude, possessing a come-what-may, I-don’t-take-myself-too-seriously-even-if-I-actually-do attitude. Plus Johnny Damon was hot! Maybe beards aren’t so bad.
And then there’s my husband….
Ever since the kids were little, whenever we went on family vacations, Mr. Mia refused to shave, from the day we left until the day we returned, often from Disney World—to his chagrin. (He also wore a wide brim straw hat for the duration of his days off, but that is a different story altogether.) Still now, when Mr. Mia goes on fishing trips, he comes back a total dude, sporting a short, but sexy, beard and a chill attitude. It’s a salt and pepper beard, and he’s not at all gray-haired, but beards do their own thing, don’t they? So in terms of my Mr. Mia/beard association, I think of the relaxed, on-vacation guy, and I like it. Chalk up another point in favor of beards.
Some of my recent characters sport beards, as well. Check out The Art of Hero Worship for a bearded hero. And you will see more bearded beauties in my future works… I promise.
I have come to appreciate beards. There is a certain natural beauty and peace to letting one’s hair grow as it will, and, as the Beatles sang, to let it be.
And yup, I’m gonna do it again… I’m gonna offer another comment raffle. This time it will be for two lucky random commenters who confess their true feelings about people with BEARDS. I want truth… and lots of DETAIL!!!
The lucky winners will get a PDF of The Art of Hero Worship!! (I may be able to figure out another format but I can’t promise.)
Check out Mia’s Books…
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Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, Evernight Publishing, and Interlude Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.
Her books have won two Kirkus Recommended Book Reviews, a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.
Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
This month Mia is giving away copies of The Art of Hero Worship!
Here is how to Enter
Comment below: two lucky random commenters who confess their true feelings about people with BEARDS. I want truth… and lots of DETAIL!!!
2 random commenters will win a copy of her book!
Contest closes May 16th at Midnight EST!
Good luck and leave your email
Winners are: Trix and Didi – Mia will be in contact with your prizes 🙂 Congrats!!