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Ny Times Crossword Puzzle

The other morning at McDonalds I was enjoying an EggMcMuffin and coffee. I was also doing, or attempting to do, the New York Times crossword puzzle. I say I was attempting because it was Thursday, and as you may know the Times puzzle gets progressively more difficult as the week wears on. Normally I don't even think about trying it after Wednesday.

While cogitating on a clue for which I knew I would never think of an answer, a bearded creature approached my table and asked if I needed help with the puzzle. He described himself a puzzle "aficionado." I snarled an unfriendly "no thanks" and he departed, obviously dismayed that I did not respond to his charming offer.

Did I mention he was a bearded creature? He was indeed. A nasty bushy beard hid most of his face. Not only that, but some remains of whatever he had been eating clung to the gray-white hairs. It was disgusting.

As every woman knows, men are not the cleanest of God's creatures. Surely, when you look at a beard or mustache you have to wonder how many Big Mac remnants are lurking deep in the recesses of the mess. Yes, I know many men are tidy, (as is yours, of course) but let's be real - they are not the norm.

My husband and I were at a restaurant and an older man at the next table was slurping soup through his beard. I said to my husband who pretended to be unaware of the sight, "See that guy over there? He can't find his mouth." My husband takes everything in stride advised me to "chill" and to look the other way. It was hard to ignore.

Hygiene or lack thereof is just one issue.

Men no longer know how to be men. They seem to equate hairiness with masculinity. They must be confused - why else would they have a beard, wear feminizing earrings and reek of nasty cologne?

The other thing is, how in the world can you tell what a man is all about if you can't see his face? I don't know about you, but I read faces - not just eyes, but faces. A man who covers his face with hair is hiding something. I want to know what's behind the mask.

A friend sent a photo of a bearded one she met on the Internet. I thought to myself at the time, "How can she tell what he is?" I kept my counsel and you guessed it, he turned out to be not the man of her dreams. I believe life events, beliefs, and actions eventually play out on the face. You need to be able to see an unadorned face to evaluate properly what you are dealing with.

Some time ago, I read about a former British Foreign Secretary who asks Muslim women visiting his office to remove their veils. He explained that he felt uncomfortable talking with someone whose face he cannot see. He said that the value of a meeting, as opposed to a letter or phone call is that you can see what the person means, not just what they say.

Veils or beards. What's the difference. They both block full disclosure of identity and intent.

Another thought: Isn't it ironic that while it's okay for men to have beards and generally look like something the cat dragged in, women feel obligated to tweeze, rip, pull, tear, and shave every last stray hair off of every inch of their body below the neck to make themselves more attractive to a waster who could not care less about personal grooming. I know that's generalizing, but it's more accurate than not.

I can understand young guys who are still trying to find themselves (whatever that means) and who have bought into the fashion of the day and want to be attractive to young women. (Young women often have strange preferences these days, and seem willing to put up with most anything, so what do I know about what they find attractive.) But old or older guys should just shave it all off. It will make them look younger and enhance whatever attractiveness may still be left.

Whatever happened to neat, clean-shaven men in power suits and ties, who knew they were men, who would rather be dead than be seen wearing feminizing earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and smelling better than you do. Is that asking too much?

Whew! Now I feel better. But probably only until I encunter another beard.

Barbara Morris, R.Ph. is a pharmacist, author of "Put Old on Hold" Sign up for her monthly Put Old on Hold Newsletter at and receive her complimentary ebook, "Twelve DivaTested Tips for Fabulous Skin." Her expertise is cited in Art Linkletter and Mark Victor Hansen's new book, "How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life."