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No Shave November’

Ankur Chawla | Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nine days ago, I, along with my fellow O’Neill Hall Mobsters and (I’m sure) many men across campus, began the annual tradition of “No Shave November.” Scruffy neck beards and patchy facial hair undoubtedly ensued. Still, as the competitive Domers that we are, those brave of heart and strong willed, always abiding by “Rule 76: No Excuses — Play Like a Champion Today,” have continued on avoiding the razor. But the question arises, why do this? Apart from conformity and peer pressure, what good comes from 30 days without grooming? Well, dear readers, this column will (try to) tell you.

A quick Google search of “No Shave November” gave little insight into the origins of the worldwide practice, but the closest historical match has its traces in Australia and New Zealand. In those two nations, November is better known as “Movember,” a clever combination of moustache and November. There it is treated as a fundraising campaign for men’s health issues. How someone could raise money by sporting a moustache is beyond me, but it does bring up possibilities for the tradition in the U.S.

Noble causes such as raising money for Darfur and prostate cancer have spread across college campuses such as the University of Oregon and others. Additionally, it has been cited as means for water preservation, natural “beauty” and a means for “sticking it to the man” for overpricing razors and blades. I propose the University of Notre Dame organize similar charitable causes for monetary donations or mere awareness (how is this any different from sitting on a roof for X hours or posting where you like to keep your purse on Facebook in an attempt at making sexual innuendos?)

Now, there are downsides to “No Shave November.” I estimate that a mere 27 percent of men on campus can actually grow a reasonable amount of facial hair. It can be quite the unsightly sight. Yes, most women do not approve of the neck beard or sparse moustache (though granted, I’m pretty sure guys wouldn’t be thrilled if women partook in the festivities as well). Still, there are no actual hygiene implications or true downsides other than appearances.

The competitive nature of this tradition is inevitably entertaining, and countless excuses for it can be made. If honorable causes can be furthered through it, why not let the beard grow out? Not to mention the awesome alliteration.

I leave you readers with an anonymous quote I received while posing as if the issue of “No Shave November” was an Observer Question of the Day: “There are two people in this world that go around beardless — boys and women, and I am neither one.”


The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Ankur Chawla at [email protected]