By Chris Campbell
No one is entirely certain how the No-Shave November phenomenon began, or how it developed into the tradition it has ultimately become today. Regardless, many men in particular use this as an avid opportunity to express their masculinity to the world around them. The causes for participation differ based on individual preference, but the underlying theme remains the same for the majority of men: To enjoy being a man and have fun doing so.
Many men use the month to compete with one another. The goal in mind is simple with the one growing the most impressive beard being deemed the decisive alpha-male among varying groups.
“It’s something fun that I can do with all my boys,” said Jake Gibbs, graduate business major. “Just seeing who looks the best, or worst with it makes it worthwhile.”
Perhaps the No-Shave sensation provides an ego boost for participating males. If that happens to be the case, then who can blame them?
“As men, it’s the perfect time together to grow in manliness,” said Tanner Carlson, senior communication major. “It makes me feel older. With age, comes being more wise.”
Likewise, not every individual is capable of participating, but those that do, approach the month-long journey to fuzziness quite religiously.
“I honestly don’t like my face without facial hair,” said Carlson. “When I don’t have a beard I’m 12. When I do have a beard I’m 23.”
Furthermore, Carlson’s path to facial admiration took both time and patience, but after spending some quality time out west prior to college, everything changed for him.
“I don’t know if it was the air out there, but all of a sudden I had a fully grown beard by the time I left California,” said Carlson. “Now I have to have my beard.”
For other individuals, reasons for participating are more serious than one might imagine.
“I want to be lazy, but I also feel that it’s a simple way to bring attention to men’s suicide, and other related issues,” said Brandt Wood, sophomore physical performance and sports studies major. “I was able to explain to others why I did it, and other issues that maybe other people didn’t even know about.”
That’s what can be so surprising from a phenomenon like No-Shave November. It’s easy to overlook the monthly holiday, but others deliberately participate for more than just themselves. In retrospect, there’s a much greater meaning involved with the man behind the beard. You just have to dig deep and maybe you will find it.
Chris Campbell is a junior majoring in communication. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org