In order to get to the Rafu office, I ride three different buses. While riding on the bus, especially the freeway bus, I spend time reading, or doing crossword puzzles or word-finding games. But I enjoy most of all observing people who sit on the five seats facing each other in the very front of the bus.

Since I usually sit in the second- or third-row aisle seat, it gives me a great view to observe those sitting there. On two occasions I have observed six men who appeared to be in their late 20s to early 40s displaying a beard.

Now, observing beards has become a fascination to me and, may I say, somewhat humorous. The beards I have observed reminded me of a cat or a goat, or a lion with an undeveloped mane or a horse or a walrus. It is the way the beard is shaved or to put it bluntly, “styled.”

These men must have done a lot of creative thinking or should I say “weird” thinking to pattern such a beard on their face. The sideburn styles on the face were something to behold. Some were thick, others thin, some even striped but exactly the same on the right and left, quite unique in pattern. It is amazing how the beards were shaped on the cheeks, under the chin, above and below the lips. It must have taken a lot of time and careful shaving not to lose the pattern.

Seeing these beards remind me, too, of the “weird” hairstyles some women have. I have seen a woman with purple-dyed hair in a pompadour style, a woman with bright-red dye at the end of a long, blonde braid, or women who have completely shaved their hair and a woman with long hair over her right ear hanging below her chin and the left side somewhat shorter hanging below her left chin.

Some women just wash their hair in the shower and although not dripping, it is damp and uncombed. When a woman’s hair is not brushed or combed, it gives such a “sloppy” appearance.

It makes me wonder — don’t the men with such beards and the women with such dyed hair realize how outlandish they look? Are they married? Don’t they have friends who wonder about their beards and/or hairstyle? Then again, I have to remember, to each his/her own. Everyone has the right to choose whatever and however they express themselves.

I wouldn’t, however, want to be kissed by any of the men who have a beard as described above. Now, why did I say that??!!

Meow! Shave and a haircut, two bits!

PLEASE NOTE: JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT,  I will “meow” any comments, problems, questions you may have. Please mail letter to me in C/O of The Rafu Shimpo, 701 E. Third St., Suite 130, Los Angeles, CA 90013. I will answer SELECT letters in my column.

Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. She can be reached at Ochazuke is a staff-written column. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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