NO SHAVE NOVEMBER. The new rite of passage for all adolescent and college-aged men to see how much facial hair they can grow if they shun their razors for the entire month.
All this month, you will see young men sporting facial hair, if you can call it that. Most contestants don't grow enough hair for that patch of peach fuzz on their upper lip to be called a mustache, so before you buy one of these people a razor, know why this wonderful 30 day tradition exists, and what it means for men everywhere.
No Shave November was officially created in 1999 in Australia. It's main purpose was to gain awareness for Prostate Cancer and men's health in general, and it was originally created as the male equivalent to Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. But since then No Shave November has gone global, infecting college campuses and high schools all across the country with the spirit to revolt against the tyranny of the shaving razor. I'm sure only a fraction of the people who participate know what its intended message is, but a fraction is more than nothing, so I think that the creators have to be proud that their brainchild became the Godzilla of all testosterone-influenced exhibitions. Truth is, No Shave November is never going to go away now.
During the first week of this month I could walk up to any of my friends, and the first topic of conversation wasn't sports, girls, or school. It was how we were weathering the November cold by growing insulating whiskers, and how long we thought we would last before we realized it wasn't our year to go all the way. This year is the first year Service is holding a school-wide competition - with categories like Macho Mustache.
No matter how gross the women in our life find No Shave November, us men will keep and grow the tradition as a symbol of our independence and ability to live in the woods for 4 weeks straight, making campfires, hunting with our bare hands, and wearing only flannels and Carhartts.
But, I'm sad to say that I had to respectfully bow out of the running on the 11th. I realized that in my facial state, I was at my plateau, and even I could see the gross starting to peek out through the manliness. I was proud of myself though, because I didn't make the decision on anyone else's recommendation. No matter how many girls laughed at my mustache (who I named Pierre) or beard (who I named Jean Luc), I knew that I was a man, and they appreciated that.
So, until next year, I'll shave every day, and nobody will even know I can grow facial hair. But then, on November 1st, Jean Luc and Pierre will come out of the shadows like the Phantom of the Opera - just not coming from the sewers of Paris.