Last night I dreamed that I accidentally shaved off my mustache.
For some reason I was shaving in the dark, without a mirror, and it was only after running the razor over the right side of my upper lip that I realized that that was a mistake.
I felt around, to asses the damage, and that one swipe had pretty much eliminated the hair from that region for the first time in several decades. I considered what to do. Should I leave it as is, with one side intact and the other reduced to stubble? Should I shave off the rest of the mustache? Or should I shave off everything, mustache and beard?
In the dream, I decided to continue on the other side of the upper lip and remove the mustache, but I left the goatee on the chin below. Yes, I thought, it will now truly be "just a goatee." No longer the full Van Dyke... Van Dyke; a much nicer term than "goatee" for a far more symmetrical beard. Yes, I thought, I like the symmetry of hair above and below the mouth, connecting at the sides.
I remembered this dream not when I first woke up, but later, as I stood before the mirror, preparing to shave. I wondered for a second whether I'd take the dream as a dare or even a prophecy and go for a new look. But, no, I left the Van Dyke intact.
I've worn my beard this way for nearly a decade. Previously I had a full beard and mustache, but I trimmed it back to the Van Dyke on the advice of one of my staff who thought the full beard was "too rabbinical."
I've also considered cutting it all down even further, to not even a goatee, but a mere triangle of fuzz below the lower lip: The Soul Patch. A minimalist approach to facial hair that's perhaps the coolest beard of them all. If I do it, of course, I'd also have to shave my head to go with it.
And I'd do it today - soul patch and shaved head - if I didn't think I'd wind up looking like Howie Mandel's chubbier brother. Not that I don't love Howie. He's an incredibly funny guy. I just don't want to encourage that kind of comparison. No, the "Full Howie" will have to wait.
For today, and tomorrow, at least, the Van Dyke survives. Except in my dreams.