Bearded Lady

The women in my family love to laugh at ourselves…and each other. We each provide a different venue for laughs.

My mother, the leader of the “laugh-at-yourself” club, is known for her odd pronunciations of various words. For example, she reads a poim, not a poem. She takes Pepto Bismo for an upset stomach. And she slips back into her New Orleans accent when she visits Grandma like she’s Sybil or something. There is an entire series of stories co-starring my Aunt Fran. I don’t have time or permission to tell those!

My sister entertains by her huge reactions to, well, to just about anything. Every gift she opens is the most amazing thing she’s ever seen. Any news we have regarding the children is definite evidence that they are geniuses. If there is good news, she is the absolute best person to tell…complete with very loud exclamations of excitement. If you get your hair done differently, she will absolutely loooooove it! She has simply ruined me for normal reactions from others.

Humor from my life seems to always center around my physical appearance. We can hardly look at the family photos without a reminder of just how “funny-looking” I was in my awkward phase, which for the record, lasted a good 18 years. Apparently in the 70’s they didn’t really make many children’s frames (so my mom claims) and that explains why I have glasses that are dark brown and cover half of my face. I also had what I was told was a “Dorothy Hammel” haircut, which resulted in people always asking my sister what her little brother’s name was.

The other day Abby, Karyn, and I had another hearty laugh over my physical appearance. This was in reference to a shocking post-partum discovery. It wasn’t enough that after I delivered 14 pounds of baby, the other 36 pounds I gained miraculously moved to my thighs, rear end, and my nose (yes, at least two pounds went straight to my nose). I mean, surely it was all baby before they came out! And apparently, it wasn’t enough that my belly was a warped floppy mess-literally two handfuls of skin (I know, too much information). It also wasn’t enough that I had to continue to wear the three maternity dresses I grew to loathe well after I delivered the boys. These things were hard yes, but nothing could prepare me for the grand-daddy of all post-delivery humiliations.

I was taking an unusual opportunity to look at my face carefully in the mirror when I noticed it. I said out loud, “Oh. My. Gosh.” I had a beard. I kid you not…I had a real beard. It had probably been there for weeks and I didn’t notice because, well, I had more important things to notice like two newborn baby boys. I was already reeling from the adjustment to being a mom (hormones a-ragin’). So let’s just say that I didn’t at that moment, laugh at my beard discovery. What does one do when one discovers she has a beard? I thought, this must be male hormone from the boys. I thought, why didn’t my sister tell me about this? I knew she had to have noticed. And then I did what I thought made perfect sense. I went to Wal Mart and bought a chemical hair remover. I put it all over my beard. Whooooo Nelly! That hurt almost as bad as breast feeding (not quite). I took off the chemicals only to discover that it removed not only the hair, but a layer of skin as well. So in the days following (felt like weeks), I had a scab beard. But hey, at least the hair was gone!

We laughed so hard. I love being in a family that doesn’t take themselves too seriously. We really love to laugh at ourselves. It is good medicine. And the next time you are lamenting the affects childbearing has had on your body, comfort yourself with this: you probably didn’t grow a beard your brother could have envied.


15 thoughts on “Bearded Lady

  1. A song came to my head when I read this

    Larry: On the day I got my tooth
    I had to kiss my Great Aunt Ruth
    She had a beard, and it felt weird.

    Archibald: She had a beard and it felt weird?

    Larry: She had a beard.

  2. Thanks for making me laugh this morning. I have what I call my ‘stash, only it isn’t hair, but discolored skin right above my lip. I wonder if chemical skin removers would take it away….

  3. Laurie, girl, you made me pee (sorry, guys reading this). That’s something from my HUGE stash of postpartum effects. I got a few stray black hairs above the lip on one side only. Why’s that?

    Fishmama: the hairs aforementioned are in a discolored (slightly lighter color of skin) in the same above-lip area YOU mentioned. We should come up with a club name for ourselves. Bearded Dragon Queens?

  4. Laurie,

    I left this on your love story post. So in case you didn’t see it, I’ll leave it hear as well. BTW, love the blog.


    Hey, Richard Wagner here. Remember me? We were roomates my junior year at UT. I just stumbled onto this website and there you were.

    I would love to catch up! I’ve gottne to catch up a little reading your wife’s blog. There is a link to email me at my site http://www.rdwagner.com.

    Some of my best memories of those years at UT are playing spades and watching Ben and Murphy go at it. 🙂


  5. Zoanna, the discolored part is actually DARKER skin, so it does look like a ‘stash. My husband says he doesn’t notice it — until I point it out.

    Somedays I FEEL like a beared dragon lady.

  6. Is that Rich Wagner from Kingsport?? I think you were my senior prom date. Does Mayfair ring a bell?

    We all can now break into “It’s a small world after all!”

  7. Fishmama, I have no sympathy for your so called ‘stash. Sorry. I’m Italian. I’ve had mine since 4th grade…and it IS hair!

    Rich, I’m not sure how I feel about you knowing about my postpartum belly and beard, but I’ll be sure to relay the message to Jason who will be thrilled to get in touch with you. He still talks about his glory days playing spades (you ruined him to be my partner, though…apparently I’m not good enough for him).

    Zoanna, I’m glad I made you pee if it was because you were laughing at me…otherwise, I’m glad you felt the freedom to share you own postpartum stuff :).

    Southerners who visit my blog: glad I could be a vehicle for connecting the circa 90’s UT alumni. It’s exactly what I pictured my blog to be.

  8. Josh and I are dying of laughter, not only about your post but everyone’s comments! Josh said I have to humble myself admit I have to chemically remove my “stash” too, and I don’t have postpartum excuse!

  9. Oh man… Suzanne! Yes! It is me, the prom date. Mayfair, wow, there are a few more memories.

    This is crazy huh? Really neat stuff. Thanks Laurie!

  10. Southerners who visit my blog: glad I could be a vehicle for connecting the circa 90’s UT alumni. It’s exactly what I pictured my blog to be.

    LOL! Look what you started here! Isn’t this Chesapeake/Knoxville connection the funniest thing? 😉

  11. The author, her husband, all commentors above simply MUST call ourselves something. How about we collectively think of some way to ID ourselves as the Chesapeakers, Knoxville/ UT alumnae/prom dates, bearded -ladies- regardless- of- partum -status-who-know-way-too-much-about each-other-at-this-point-but-there’s-no-going-back bloggers.

    BTW, Danielle, thanks for humbling yourself. And I thought you were physically perfect. NOW we can be friends:)-.

    So Jason plays spades, huh? I’m glad to know that there are competitive activities he particiaptes in that don’t require good knees. (At least I hope his version doesn’t.)

  12. Postpartum: Yes the ‘stash; and the purple strand of Christmas tree lights around my middle (stretch marks); and speaking of the middle – there’s more of it.

    As for Suzanne: You can’t go anywhere with her without seeing someone she knows, so I expect blogging is the same.

    Laurie: I answered your “do you sing” question with a little surprise for you on my blog.

  13. Fishmama – come on over! Much to do and see in Maryland, believe it or not. We’re good for entertainment if nothing else.

    Zoanna – you crack me up. I agree with the “we-know-way-too-much-about-each-other” comment. And it’s true that while competition stays in tact during spades, so does the knee.

    Kristie – I loved the surprise on your blog! Wow! What babies. Who’d have thought we’d be connected through blogs many years later?

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