Beardless Impostor Effect filter
January 15, 2008 3:12 AM   Subscribe

Is there a word or phrase (preferably in English, but all languages welcome) to describe the distinct feeling one gets when a man whom one sees often shaves his beard and his face looks uncomfortably different?

Does anyone else know what the hell I'm talking about?
posted by holympus to Writing & Language (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
An uncanny valley effect?
posted by Mitheral at 3:29 AM on January 15, 2008

posted by oh pollo! at 3:29 AM on January 15, 2008

posted by oh pollo! at 3:29 AM on January 15, 2008

This is very true for me. Once a year or so I will shave, and regret it afterwards. I have a strong early memory, I was maybe 2.5 or 3 years old, of the day when the "stranger" came home - my dad had shaved, and I couldn't stop crying. Mom kept saying "it's your daddy" and I kept saying "no, no".

So sorry, not a direct answer, but I very much know what you are talking about.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:30 AM on January 15, 2008

posted by Happy Dave at 3:55 AM on January 15, 2008

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:00 AM on January 15, 2008

Best answer: Shavenfreud
posted by punkfloyd at 4:08 AM on January 15, 2008 [24 favorites]

posted by Atreides at 4:58 AM on January 15, 2008

When I was 12, my father shaved off the mustache he'd had since my birth. I cried.
posted by Lucinda at 5:17 AM on January 15, 2008

My dad shaved off his full beard and mustache when my sister and I were 3 & 4 or so, and like meatbomb I remember it being a jarring experience. But my little sister took it in stride -- she asked my mom who the stranger was, and when my mom told her it wasn't a stranger, it was Dad, my little sister looked him up and down and said, "Well, I guess now I'm going to have to call you Charlie!"

(P.S. My dad's name isn't Charlie. And I *love* "shavenfreude"!)
posted by mothershock at 5:45 AM on January 15, 2008

If it's the feeling that man has, we call it "shame," or "grief."

If it's the feeling that one has upon seeing the man, we call it "pity," or "empathy."
posted by explosion at 6:25 AM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

My dad shaved his mustache when I was three. He took me into the bathroom to watch, so I would know it was him throughout. I was fine. But when he came out, my sister (who was six) had a freak-out.
posted by prophetsearcher at 6:39 AM on January 15, 2008

I had a beard for about 3 months and was quite shocked myself when I shaved it off. Took a week or so to get used to being a pale face again...
posted by zeoslap at 6:40 AM on January 15, 2008

My family calls it "I feel like Mom," based on the time it took her 3 days to figure out what, exactly, was different about my dad.

"Are you parting your hair on the other side?"
<chuckle, no...>
"New glasses frames?"
<more chuckling>
posted by vytae at 7:21 AM on January 15, 2008

The closest word I can think of to describe the general feeling is the figurative definition of disorientation: [the loss of ] the sense of time, place, or identity (Webster)
posted by Neiltupper at 7:47 AM on January 15, 2008

posted by Abiezer at 8:16 AM on January 15, 2008

I think that this is the problem for which "chagrin" was intended to be the solution. It just has so many potential elements of the problem wrapped up in it!

You might be feeling a little "stubble troubled".

Of course, if you're looking for a (semi-)serious answer, you could try "transfixed" if you can't stop looking, or "bereft" if you miss it a lot. If it makes the person look chinless, maybe you felt you were "missing the point".
posted by blue_wardrobe at 8:40 AM on January 15, 2008

i think their lips always look so naked and froggy- so i call it kermit mouth.
posted by twistofrhyme at 8:43 AM on January 15, 2008

I think Uncanny is the most accurate, though Shavenfreude is hilarious.

I've had a beard for several years now and I almost accidentally shaved it (somebody had accidentally set my trimmer down to the 1 setting and I stumbled into the bathroom and started trimming without paying attention), which weirded me out. I've never seen my father without at least a mustache and I can't imagine how weird it'd be for me.

More importantly, you're now making me want to watch La Moustache.
posted by atomly at 9:08 AM on January 15, 2008

I can remember hysterically laughing with my sisters when my father shaved his mustache for the first time since we were born. I was 6 and they were about 4, I think. My mother, however, had about 15 seconds of "where's a knife so I can murder this fucker who is in my house hanging out with my kids". She'd never seen my father clean shaven in the almost 10 years she had known him.
posted by sideshow at 11:42 AM on January 15, 2008

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