Growing up, you get lied to. A lot.
There’s the Tooth Fairy lie, but at least you get money.
The Easter Bunny, but you get chocolate.
Then there’s Santa. Sure you get presents, but he’s the most imitated one out of the long list of childhood falsities. And he can be a deep seeded cause of a truly horrible affliction. Pogonophobia.
No, that isn’t the fear of pogos.
Or of the 90s trading/collectibles known as pogs.
It’s the fear of beards!
Many a child has been deeply, and near permanently scarred with a tight gripping pogonophobia that not only impacts their daily lives and where they can or can’t go, but also their own body image.
Males in particular are worse off, as they have to battle daily the evil stubble that threatens to derail their very clean shaven existence.
And for women, they can be forced to settle for lesser males who have never even grown the outline of a beard or mustache.
Furthermore, society and its harsh views of what is or isn’t a real issue doesn’t recognize pogonophobia properly, and those struggling with this life shattering disease, will often be shunned or mocked.
This is no plea for coin, beard brothers and sisters, but a plea for understanding.
Next time someone sees your champion chinhairs and winces, it may not be due to the large piece of pizza growing mold, nestled in the heart of your bulbous beard, but due to an unfortunate Santa-related incident as a child when they pulled on the snowy white fakery and the rubber band snapped off, giving them whiplash to their temple.
But, you needn’t think you must hide your joyous jaw feathers. No, you can be the change that the world needs.
Go up to one of these poor souls and let them touch your full fuzz. Let them stroke it, pat it and know it is not dangerous. Tell them about the time you were alone, a booming thunderstorm was erupting outside and your beard kept you warm, safe and comforted.
Let them talk to your beard, and hear it brush a whisper back, to help them heal from the wounds so they too can live a hairier life.
And maybe, just maybe, the next time they see a Santa with a fake beard, instead of being afraid, they will give a little tug on his beard and speak soft, kind words to his beard. As you should too…there, there you fuzzy, fluffy white forest of jolly whiskers.