By Eddie Lopez
As men, we all have to consider our facial hair at one point or another because, for some, it makes us who we are. A walk through campus reveals beards of each variety throughout the students, the full grown classic beard, the goatee, the soul patch and the five-o’clock shadow likely on the face of a student who forgot to shave for a day or so.
The crowds who take the time to keep facial hair nice and trimmed are few. As students we are more fixed on our studies rather than our appearances more than half of the time and tend to only shave when our faces are covered by odd patches of stubble.
I tend to shave every three days or so but one week I was so overworked with classes I forgot to shave. Had I taken the time to shave at the pace I do, my week would have been a disaster.
So for once, I was grateful I didn’t think about slapping some shaving cream and pulling out a fresh razor. However, now that I had accumulated some hair to work with at the end of the week, I decided to create a style out of my fuzz.
I went out with my much more bearded friends the next day and was ask if I had been participating in No Shave November, an event I had only heard about last year for the first time. I answered honestly, “I don’t know.” since I believed I had to not shave at all to be truly participating. My friends groaned. They had participated skeptically last year but ended loving the idea.
I did not like the idea of letting my facial hair grow as it pleased into some awkward looking beard. It just wasn’t me. Besides it wasn’t for any good reason, right? Well, that’s where I was very wrong.
No Shave November is a month-long event which supports the American Cancer Society to raise awareness of health risks men face, like cancer and its various forms but more specifically prostate and testicular being the risk most focused on. The Movember Foundation (Mo being slang for mustache in Australia), started in 2004, aims to raise funds, awareness and start conversations with fellow “Mo Bros” in issues of men’s health. The foundation has had support almost worldwide and continues to grow every year. Growing our beards out for a month is a simple way to remind ourselves to embrace our hair, which is lost by cancer patients. However, there are slight differences between the Movember Foundation’s and No Shave November’s approaches.
The rules are simple for No Shave November. Do not shave until the end of the month. Although these are the usual rules given by most participators of the event, some claim that keeping the beard slightly groomed is acceptable. For the Movember Foundation, a mustache must be grown that does not connect with the sideburns. The foundation also encourages men to use the funds usually put towards maintaining facial hair groomed for a month to help educate about cancer prevention, aid patients fighting cancer, and to help research. However you do it, growing your beard out significantly is the key.
When I asked Oscar Lopez, a student, if he had been participating in the event, he stated no, since he felt that it did not raise much awareness and he would much rather donate money to a cause.
He said he did not like to grow out his beard since most women found it “ugly.”
Another student, Jeffery Romeo, said he was not participating because he liked to keep himself clean. Both said they would not do it next year, unless they had a girlfriend who would support them. Both however knew the event was to raise awareness of cancer in men.
Although most may stay within the comforts of routine, breaking out of their usual step is something fun to do. Some may scoff or dislike your woolly beard growing out. However, each beard is something distinctive to see and can start a great conversation where a man with facial hair can help raise awareness about the health risks the general public needs to be better informed about.
Facial hair is something natural for men to have, so embrace it. Or embraces it when you are given the opportunity every Movember.
After all, as Aristotle once said in the Nicomachean Ethics, “No man can be trusted if he is without a beard…Beard growth training is as important as proper ethics training.”