My passport is 7 years old and that means that my passport photo is 7 years old and my body is now 7 years older. I have complicated things by growing a long, gray beard.
Why would a man who is on the wrong side of 40 but the right side of 50 have a gray beard? Well, I HATE shaving. I’ve been shaving since I was 12. In high school I could grow a full, Ned Flanders / Burt Reynolds mustache, not a skinny Prince / John Waters one. I’m tired of shaving. Shaving is expensive and I hate spending travel money on fighting what evolution has seen fit to give me.
Why is my beard gray at my age? I’m not sure how the science works, but I put it down to 50% genetics, 15% stress, and 34% poor life decisions, and 2% getting a D in statistics. I’d never color it, laziness is why I keep the beard so why would I add a task to maintaining it?
All of the above factors are making me a bit nervous since I leave for Berlin on Tuesday. I have gone though UK border controls with a beard 5 years ago, but it was not as gray at the time. Also, the travel climate was different then and I speak English, so I could at least argue my case that I was not a terrorist in my native tongue (probably the UK border guard’s native language as well). ((Not that I am implying that having a beard makes you a terrorist, not looking like your passport photo does)).
I did fly to Las Vegas last week and had no issues with TSA, but that is not international travel and I am TSA Pre-check, so that doesn’t comfort me too much. But I’m not sure what I should do about it. Should I take a razor and offer to shave it off if they give me heat about it? Should I learn the phrase “I know, I know, you are looking at my beard” in German? (there is probably a single word for that like “sieviewenwhisker” with lots of umlauts, right?). Should I try to explain the beard and my tired appearance by telling them I obviously walked to Germany from the US? Or should I just shave it and start worrying about the important things concerning this trip: were to find the best currywurst in Berlin?