It’s not that Walmart is a symbol in my mind of decency and civility (we’ve all seen the internet fodder about what and who you see in that fine establishment), but a recent trip to the mecca of mid-grade retail may be the the most prominent example in my mind of just how it manages to attract the rabble of society.
There I was, minding my own business as I strolled down the battery aisle, when a scrawny caucasian male who appeared to be a connoisseur of some sort of nefarious drug reached out with his hand and grabbed my beard, giving it a nice little pull. That’s right, a grown man with whom I have no personal acquaintance caught me in passing by the scruff of my beard.
He looked at me without hesitation and said, as if it were cool, “Man, that thing is great. How long’d it take you to grow that one? I’ve been trying for some time, but as you can see, it isn’t working out so well.”
Now I’m not exactly a loyal reader of something like Emily Post’s book on etiquette, but I’m sane enough to know that you don’t touch a man’s beard, just like you don’t ask a woman when her baby is due if you don’t know her or know for certain that she is in fact pregnant. This guy probably thinks every time he talks to a female is an opportunity to guess and vocalize her weight, if in fact he knows any.
Awestruck, I simply swatted at his hand and said, “Don’t touch me, guy.” Now I can say I’ve met the kind of person who scales three metal fences to touch the polar bear and can’t understand why the cute creature from the Coke commercial has got his femur clamped down in his vice-like jaws of death. Some people’s kids.
For every other sane-thinking, rational human out there, it should go without saying that you don’t touch another man’s beard, especially if you don’t know him and you haven’t asked permission. I understand the beard emanates radiant awesomeness wherever it flies, but please, resist the urge to touch. I’ve passed this little nugget on to my three-year-old, and now I’m passing it on to you.