Man Shaves, Dozens Watch, a Few Report
(Boston Daily is pleased to welcome its newest addition, Paul McMorrow. He will be filing dispatches from Beacon Hill, City Hall, and wherever the hell else we send him.)
The phone call came in last week. “Kevin Youkilis is shaving. For charity. You want to come?” Um, yes.
The Sox star has had a busy offseason. He doesn’t have free agency to worry about, yet, but the newly-minted Gold Glove first baseman has been raising money at a furious pace for his new charity, Hits for Kids.
This past weekend, Youkilis held a fundraiser at Mohegan Sun, where he was joined by Terry Francona, Manny Delcarmen, and Jacoby Ellsbury. They brought in a significant amount of money for the foundation, which benefits the Italian Home for Children, the Joslin Diabetes Center, and Christopher’s Haven—all, Youkilis says, deserving charities located in the shadow of Fenway Park.
Last night, he was back on duty at the Cask n’ Flagon. Gillette was donating $5,000 to Hits for Kids, though the company demanded no small price in return — Youkilis was to eradicate his signature goatee with the aid of the Fusion, the greatest razor man has ever developed.
On the way in, we overheard one reporter grousing that the event was “the dumbest thing I’ve covered since that Nancy Kerrigan thing.” We disagreed, heartily, and sought out the perpetrators of the alleged dumbness, Youkilis’ barbers for the evening, to get their thoughts.
One, Meaghan Boyle, admitted to being “a little nervous” about touching the Greek God of Walk’s famed face.
“We’re not barbers, we’re just stylists,” added her coworker from Salon Marc Harris, Michelle Fonzi. The two would be trimming the goatee with clippers, taking it down as closely as they could, before Youkilis finished the job with a Gillette razor.
The stylists had other plans for the still-massive goatee.
“I think we should dye it,” Fonzi ventured. “Put a little blond up front. Maybe dye his number into it.”
“Yeah,” Boyle agreed. “Give it a little sex appeal.”
While preparations were underway in the back of the Cask, dozens of fans massed at the doorway. Tina Brannen, for one, claimed to be excited about the prospect of watching a guy shave his face for dozens of cameras. “I like him clean-shaven,” she argued. “He looks better that way.” She added that she has three favorite players: “Yaz, Evans, and Youkilis. That’s it.” So, she was asked, would she also be in favor of Dwight Evans shaving off his signature mustache? “I can’t imagine it,” she confessed. “Are you kidding?”
Jonathan Moore, winner of WRKO’s recent Youk-A-Like contest, has been sporting his own impressive goatee “for a while,” but he pledged to follow his more athletic doppelganger’s example. “I’m going clean,” he said. “It’s gonna be weird.”
At least one Cask hostess was overheard questioning the wisdom of shaving in a food and beverage establishment. “It’s kinda gross, isn’t it?” she asked. Youk’s fans had no such qualms.
“It should be no problem at all—I’m not worried,” scoffed Rae Lunam, who refused a suggestion to get his drinks from another bar in the restaurant. Mike Geary went a step further. “Naw, I’ll drink it!” he shouted, offering up his beer. “He can put all his hair in my drink, I’ll still drink it.”
Back at the barber’s chair, Youkilis’ fiancée, Enza Sambatoro, coached Boyle and Fonzi through the finer aspects of manicuring her man’s impressive facial hair. Don’t try to get it all at once, she advised, or you’ll clog up the clippers.
The gates were opened, and fans swarmed the press pit, where they were subsequentially beaten back, and fell into place behind a battery of cameras. WAAF’s Greg Hill welcomed the crowd to “a momentous occasion in Boston sports history.” He went so far as to declare Youkilis’s goatee “some of the most memorable body hair in Boston sports history,” ranking alongside Yaz’s sideburns, Larry Bird’s mustache, and “Tim Wakefield’s Just for Men hair color.”
Before the shaving began, Youkilis submitted himself to a barrage of hair and free agency-related questions. He said he’d been ready to shave his face “for a while,” but hadn’t wanted to mess with a good season. He had no inside information on the Mike Lowell talks (“We’re all unemployed right now”), and he remained philosophical about Josh Beckett’s loss in the Cy Young race to C.C. Sabathia, arguing that World Series rings were better hardware, anyway.
Several more hair-related questions followed, and fans grew restless, so they began shouting. “Can I have some of your hair?” one demanded. “When I’m working, I sweat really, really bad — like you,” another yelled. “Any thoughts on that?” Youk had none, but he did volunteer that his face grows in “pretty quick,” and that he’d probably grow the goatee back because “a lot of people like it.” Then again, he might leave his face clean for Thanksgiving, for his mother.
Then it was on to the main event. Fans hollered as the clippings hit the floor. Waitresses snapped camera phone pictures. Screams and cheers went up when Boyle and Fonzi fashioned Youkilis with a Boogie Nights mustache. The noise was so great that the disgruntled reporter perked up and walked over to take a look. Then Youkilis applied Gillette shaving cream to himself and, with the aid of a tiny mirror, scraped off the last remnants of his once-mighty goatee. As he felt his face, all he could muster was, “Wow.”
Sambatoro appeared less than satisfied with the results. “Um, it’s different,” she ventured. “I’m hoping it grows back as soon as possible.” How long does that take? “Three to five days, thank God!”
Then she grabbed her man, and the pair fled through the Cask’s kitchen, pursued by a Youk-ing mob.