"Grow facial hair" they said

As a sort of follow-up to an earlier gripe about the difference between my perceived and actual age, just last week I got ID'd when buying a beer... *sigh*

Upon complaining about it, one person suggested I grow a beard, one person showed some sympathy by saying she gets ID'd at the supermarket (can't link to it as it's on my Facebook profile), and another person suggested growing a beard. See a pattern there?

And over a dinner with friends just this weekend, growing facial hair was brought-up again - although in the context of the recent ski week and the things we did to keep warm.

"So why don't you try growing a beard?" they asked. My response is that, even if it will solve my age issues, it brings with it a whole new raft of problems; if I let my facial hair grow a bit, I start to look like a Mexican car thief.

I don't have any photo evidence of this, but there are plenty of photos of my dad in the family photo album from his facial hair days, and boy does he look dodgy. One photo in particular sticks with me, an action shot taken of our whole family at the Auckland Zoo soon after we moved to New Zealand. In it, my mum and dad are walking together with my mum pushing a stroller, and both my brother and I are running ahead of the 2 of them. Every time I see that photo, I look at my dad and think, Man, I wouldn't trust that guy around my kids or car, and then let the irony of my thoughts slowly sink-in as I realize that I am one of his kids, and that I don't own a car.

(I was going to scan that photo and put it up here, but in my search for it I remembered that it's actually back in the Philippines, in my grandparents' photo album, several thousand miles away. Here's your consolation prize)

I don't really look like my dad, but I tend to see a lot of my parents in myself. eg: musical ability from my mum, my aptitude for chess and choosing cooking meals over baking from my dad, etc. So when I forget to shave for a while and see a 5-o'clock-the-following-day shadow on my face, I keep seeing my dad from that photo...

Since I'm from a country filled with stories about how people dig up and steal phone cables from the ground only to sell them back to the phone companies they stole them off, or about how you can get scammed and stabbed on the buses/jeepneys, or how everyone drives with their doors locked lest somebody open it and steal from you while you're idling at an intersection, I tend to put a high price on my perceived trustworthiness in an attempt to differentiate myself from my crazy little country of birth.

So I'll just have to put up with the young 'un treatment, because given the choice between that or looking like I'm going to jack your car and entice young children with candy, I'd rather deal with the former than hinder my friend/career/life prospects.