By Jessica Lockhart
I’m a firm believer that people are going about their New Year’s resolutions in entirely the wrong way.
Resolutions shouldn’t be about self-improvement, because you’re probably already awesome. They also shouldn’t be about saving the world, because we’ve got Brangelina to take care of that.
I think that in order for a resolution to be effective, it has to be completely selfish and absurd, with no purpose other than to make your year interesting.
That’s why on Dec. 31, 2005, I vowed to only date men with beards for the entire year. The rules were simple — for 365 days, I would exclusively date guys with beards.
Chin-straps, moustaches, goatees, soul patches, mutton chops and all other inferior forms of facial hair were unacceptable. Only full-on, mountain-man, rash-inducing beards were game.
“You should just call it 2006: Year of the Rash,” quipped one of my friends.
In addition to amusing me, the resolution also provided answers to questions that unattached, relatively attractive females are regularly assaulted with: Why am I still single? Well, I haven’t met a good guy with a beard yet.
Why don’t I want to date you? Sorry, but I only date guys with beards.
What if I met a guy that I liked, but he didn’t have a beard? Well, if he truly liked me, he would grow one.
It was that simple.
I could never again be accused of having high standards — after all, my criteria for potential suitors had been narrowed down to only one condition: the ability to grow a beard.
It was a fool-proof plan. Returning to Toronto from my winter holidays, I quickly developed an acute sixth sense that allowed me to know whenever beards were in proximity.
This was a talent that I proudly referred to as my “beard-ar.” At first, I was worried that my resolution would result in another year of bonding with the Saturday night staff at Blockbuster.
But everywhere I turned there were beards. There were the Kensington hippies, whose hemp clothing was synonymous with their facial hair of choice; the Annex hipsters imitating their indie rock idols by sporting for a more well-groomed version; and the Queen Street regulars who, in a poor attempt at irony, tried to emulate Jesus.
There was even the guy on my street corner begging for change. Eager to start off the year, I posted an advertisement on Craigslist.org, a network of online communities where people can post classified ads.
I was seeking “men with beards: flannel and axe optional.” Within 48 hours I had received nearly 50 replies, complete with pictures.
In January, I went on my first bearded date with Jason, a member of a local comedy troupe. He had a great sense of humour and his facial hair was undeniably thick, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Next there was Nando, whose resemblance to a pirate appealed to my inner sailor. And of course, in between, there were all the bearded guys who received an undue amount of my affection at parties.
By March, I had already gone on more dates than I had in the previous two and half years combined. Along the way, my parents’ support was definitely essential. Every time I called home, my Dad would ask encouragingly,
“So, how are the beards?”
My classmates were eager to help, and everyone seemed to know a great guy with a beard that I “absolutely had to meet!” But like any good resolution, it didn’t come without its share of challenges.
During Reading Week, I had to keep reminding myself that no, the Hasidic Jewish men lining New York’s subway cars didn’t want to make out with me; and that yes, I should instead funnel my amorous desires towards Tony, an Egyptian hostel worker with facial hair that made him vaguely look like a pharaoh.
There were also times when I faltered and craved the company of a clean-shaven guy. But I persevered, knowing that I would lose all respect for myself if I dated one. Okay, I admit that’s not entirely true.
Once, in a moment of weakness, I agreed to go for coffee with a baby-faced skateboarder. But he stood me up. Fate clearly had bigger plans for me.
In September, I met Alex at a mutual friend’s party. His beard wasn’t nearly as full as Jason or Nando’s, but it had an incomparable soft texture that I found irresistible. Immediately hitting it off, we left the party to go for a walk.
“I’ve heard about you before,” Alex confessed to me, “I heard that you like beards.” Four months later, I spent my New Year’s Eve with a bearded boyfriend at my side.
I had accomplished the unthinkable; I had kept a New Year’s resolution. And when the clock struck midnight and Alex kissed me, my 2006 resolution seemed almost prophetic.