Having solemnized my fourth wedding of the season last weekend, I now have three full months to do as I please before facilitating the final two nuptials on my schedule this fall. I could have performed two more ceremonies between now and then, but I declined those requests so that I can focus more time on my family and on writing.

That’s the company line anyway. The real reason is that I don’t like to shave, which I have to do before each wedding I officiate. It’s not that I’m simply lazy, (which of course I am). Rather, whenever I scrape blade across flesh or unleash an electric razor’s fury upon my delicate skin, my face breaks out like a teenager on prom night. I’m forty-four years old, and I don’t think it’s right that I should still be battling blackheads or popping pimples at my age.

I still remember the worst zit I ever had as a kid. I was a seventh grader in junior high, and the tip of my nose looked like it had been stung by the world’s angriest hornet. Everything I did to remediate the red blight caused it to grow exponentially larger and more difficult for passers-by to ignore. It got so bad I began to fear that at any moment Santa might ask me to guide his sleigh. One morning before class began, I was walking my school’s halls with some friends (as was the ritual back then) when a girl named Dana approached me. You could say that I had a bit of a crush on Dana. She was tall, cute, smart, and a year older than me. My heart fluttered in anticipation of hearing whatever words she chose to bless me with.

“That zit looks painful,” she said, recoiling from the grotesque visage before her. I was mortified. I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. But there was nowhere to hide, and Dana just kept standing there staring at my hideous deformity and waiting for me to say something clever. I had to try to save face—literally.

“It’s not a zit,” I said. I had panicked. Of course it was a zit. Everyone at Hannibal Junior High School could see that as plain as the nose on my… Oh never mind. “Uh, actually I cut myself shaving this morning,” I desperately offered, hoping I would seem manlier for shaving so recklessly.

“You shave your nose?” Dana shot back, either incredulous or perplexed. Probably both. I offered a lame explanation that defied physics then slinked away in shame for having lied to the woman I loved. What was I thinking? I didn’t even own a razor yet!

The truth is I haven’t had much need for a razor until recently. With my trusty sideburn clippers on my electric shaver, I’ve been able to get by with trimming my stubble once every other week or so (whether I need it or not). But during wedding season it is imperative that I look my best for such special occasions, which means that I give myself a close shave before every ceremony. By the next morning, my freshly shorn face looks just like it did when I manned the fryers at Wendy’s when I was in high school. Back then, the French fries were cooked in 100% pure beef lard which, as you can imagine, was not good for the pores on my teenaged face.

Therefore I have decided, (aside from trimming the occasional stray whisker,) that I am not going to shave again until the next time I officiate a wedding, September 24. That will give my face a three-month reprieve from the trauma of shaving. In that amount of time I may actually be able to grow what could reasonably be described as a beard. I have attempted to do so several times in the past, only to be forced to shave for a wedding or for a chance at intimacy with my wife.

This could be a long summer. I think I’ll keep my Norelco charged up—just in case.

By Travis Naughton