The air is at a crisp, 88 degrees, Starbucks is putting out their holiday cups (#StarbucksRedCup anyone?) and the days of summer are far behind us. These are all signals of a special time of year – that’s right, No Shave November.
No Shave November is a time of joy for many of those eager to show off their facial hair growing abilities, as well as a time of ridicule and insecurity for those whose talents aren’t quite as fully developed. The Torch goes behind the scenes with some perspectives from No Shave November champions, some tips on how to truly master growing a beard and finally a tale of personal experience and triumph.
Twelfth-grader Jordan Phillips shared his past experience. “Last year I did it, but I forgot I am Jewish. So my beard was 80% neck, 10% side burns, 10% side of chin and I itched it all day long. And it was miserable, but I was committed and when my grandma saw me for Thanksgiving she freaked out and demanded I shave,” he said.
“No Shave November is great. It’s fantastic to have an entire month where I can cut off two whole minutes from my morning routine,” twelfth-grader Axel Martin said.
Phillips has three main points of advice for potential future No Shave November champions: “Learn what type of beard you grow. Don’t let your grandparents see you. Don’t let the itchiness make you quit.”
As we look for expert tips on how to grow a beard, three main, reliable and go-to websites are consulted: WikiHow, WebMD and Youtube. While WikiHow provided four cartoon photos of a man with a full beard staring in puzzlement at a razor, it also provided some helpful tips, including: don’t shave your beard if you want a larger beard, clean your face and get some rest. WebMD simply said that if you have facial hair growing there is also a 90% chance you have Lyme Disease. YouTube, meanwhile, revealed immensely helpful videos of men discussing their beards, touching their beards and reviewing recently released movies.
And now, for the personal part of No Shave November. Three years ago, as a ninth-grader on The Torch, I was assigned to the No Shave November story, which indeed, included having to grow a beard myself and report on the experience. This is what dedication for The Torch looks like.
Now, half an inch taller and three years older, I dare to attempt that endeavor again. It has been a long journey, one that many classmates have been unaware thanks to clever concealer and my head being down in most of my classes as I definitely was listening and taking careful notes, and NOT sleeping. At all. But now it is time to reveal these painstaking efforts and to complete the task I set out to do freshmen year.
It was difficult at first, but I believe sheer willpower was responsible. Every morning I would simply stare in the mirror and will myself to grow a beard. (This is also a legitimate excuse for the 30 consecutive tardies I received during the month of November.)
The next step involved maintenance. Shampoo, conditioner, hairspray and careful combing are all part of the beard growing process. It’s a labor of love – as well as lots of judgement from the parents. I think my dad is just jealous.
The third step was indeed the hardest – patience. All month I have been waiting, waiting and waiting for this glorious beard to grow. I have put all my concentration and focus into this, instead of you know, homework, or college apps, or remembering to talk to people.
And finally, I believe it has paid off. No Shave November – three years later, that young ninth-grade reporter, so naïve, young and short, has finally won.