I have, for the last six months or so, been a member of a select group of men.
When I have passed by, ladies have looked at me and felt the full power of my previously-absent manliness. People have looked upon me as a font of wisdom. I have been considered a sage of our times.
I have been in the same club as Brian Blessed, Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare. And Conchita Wurst too, but there's not terribly much I can do about that.
Yes, since late last year I have been hairy of face. I have been able to pause and stroke my chin in a thoughtful way when asked a tricky question. Other bearded men and I have been able to acknowledge each other in the street with that raised eyebrow that says: "Hello, brother of mine."
I have been able to spend an extra five minutes every morning in bed. It's been ace.
But all good things must come to an end. I'm sorry, ladies. I grew the beard last year for theatrical purposes. And it is for the same reason that it's coming off. My next play is not set in the fuzzy 70s, but in the smooth-chinned 50s. It was written by Noel Coward. I even wear a dressing gown at one point. Rough-and-ready just won't cut it.
So I thought I'd treat you, dear reader, to a visual story of my journey. Because every man, no matter how grown-up he is, uses the removal of a beard to try out a few different looks. Here we go.
Step 1 - our start point. Full 'Extra in an Elizabethan Feast Scene' mode. It's quite magnificent, isn't it? Right, fire up the Braun.
Step 2 - the Van Dyck. As worn by cavaliers, laughing or otherwise, for 300 years or so. See also 'Bassist in a nu-metal band.'
It was at this point that I realised I was going to have to forego the
'Lemmy', as I'd already got rid of my jowl-hair. Oh, dear reader, imagine
my disappointment. But this is an occupational hazard. You can't go backwards. Never mind. Onwards and upwards.
Now then. I thought long and hard about the next phase of the transformation. Obviously this next character is a divisive figure, whose actions affected millions of people in the last century. This moustache is one that is inextricably linked to one individual. But, fellas, we've all wondered what we'd look like if we adopted this man's look, haven't we?
Here we go.
OK, OK. I know. You were expecting someone else. It's Ron Mael from Sparks. I can't see why this look didn't catch on.
That was a really odd 20 minutes.