When I escorted my out-of-town friend (gossip mongers relax, she is not from here) to his office for some advice on bulimia, Jake had another observation up his sleeve. He said: "Patrick, there is a certain Zidane look about you today."
For those of you who are not familiar with soccer, Zinedine Zidane is the famous (now infamous) French star of Algerian ancestry (this last bit of information should be irrelevant for the politically correct). Zidane head-butted Italian defender Marco Materazzi during the recent World Cup final. Allegedly, Materazzi had some harsh words for Zidane and his family on the field.
I did not tell Jake that was not necessarily a compliment.
Immediately, I knew my procrastination on shaving my facial hair had produced undesirable dividends. On a clean-cut day, I could pass as a Southern European. Better yet, I can even pose as a Romansch speaking Swiss.
But avoidance of this daily Western male ritual can instantaneously rocket-launch me over to the troubled region we all refer to as the Middle East.
I did not take Jake's warning seriously; it took me a few days before I took up my razor.
His comments were the beginning of a few days of strangers engaging me on the topic of Israel's attack on Lebanon.
First there was the Irish Roy at a club on Friday night as we were both headed to talk to the same redhead named Sciera. As our swords crossed for a second, and with little introduction, Roy asked (read with a heavy Dublin accent): "What do you think about Israel's invasion of Lebanon?"
This was not the first time I had regretted not taking my dad's manly advice seriously. He used to say: "Dgha jaan, khntroom em ed morookud makree (Dear son, shave that beard, please). Oh well, tomorrow was a new day.