Shaved off the beard (that I've been working on for better than a month) today in preparation for the annual visit to relatives that occurs every holiday season. I do this for one reason and one reason only. The only time I've worn a beard in this particular relatives presence, she was completely scandalized that I would wear a beard. When I queried her as to the problem with it, her response was "well, you know what that means..."
She's never completed the sentence. Actually, I do know what it means to me. It means it's getting colder outside and I want to keep my chin warm. It means I hate shaving and jump at the chance to avoid it (even though 'beard' is a loose term for what actually grows) It means I like to try growing a beard every fall. Don't know what it means to her. Don't think I actually want to know. Which is, in fact, the reason for shaving in the first place.
If I can't get an all in one guide to "what things mean", then I'd just as soon be spared the tortuous process of figuring out why something means something else to the person who is offended. And since I can't avoid family, I'll just shave and avoid the process altogether. It's the least I can do.
I wonder what she would think if I told her I once had an ear pierced? That I shared earrings with my female friends when we would go to clubs? "Well, you know what that means..."