“Every man is the king of his own beard;” A proverb I recall hearing once, I cannot remember whether it was a Persian or an Italian saying, regardless, it stuck with me on the spot. I remember the first time I saw “the Lord of the Rings” as a kid; Gandalf really captured my eyes, I felt like he would be the perfect guy to do my homework. He struck me as the guy who knows what is going on and how he gets things done. I understood why this expression and his bearings were quite of strong authority to me; it was the beard, he looked like someone who figured out everything in life; of course, that was before I found out that no one really knows what is going on or what we are doing anyway. Yet, trivial things do matter and have an effect, be it significant or not; one of those could be facial hair and what does it represent and say. It is perfect that I am discussing this topic currently, in this month, November, or should I say No Shave November?
Facial hair can be a statement, as shown in many pieces of research and discussions; a freely flowing beard can strike a form of dominance in the hearts of other people as it can invoke aggression for the exact same reasons, whether that is true or not; one cannot deny that some do wear it better than others; some were born to sport a scruffy beard or a majestic mustache and others don’t; nevertheless, if you can wear this scruff or not, you are cordially invited to join in the rally of No Shave November.
In November, a significant number of people are celebrating the rallying cry of “No-shave November,” or as some call it, “Movember.” The campaign of No-shave November was around for a while, circulating internet forums and discussions and even memes! It is believed that the precipice of 2009’s summer was Movember’s debut. It incepted as a tradition by the Hill family, located in The United States, Chicago, a couple of years after their father passed away from colon cancer. They coined the tradition, seemingly like a Greek college fraternity admission ritual, of spreading the word and the inside-joke of sporting the glory of moustaches and beards as a facial hair statement; in a way, it was a way of tribute to their father and his struggle. Also, a way of spreading awareness about cancer and men health in general; supporting the merits of early detection and regular check-ups to assure oneself and loved ones. In the battle of cancer, there are many losses, hair being one of them. Letting your hair, beard or moustache grow for over the span of November is considered as a symbol of defiance in the face of a merciless enemy.
People participating in the virtual rally let the razors down for a month and relay the money that were to be spent on barbers, spas, razorblades and grooming tools to raise funds for organizations such as Prevent Cancer Foundation and Fight Colorectal Cancer Groups; non-profit entities that aim in battling cancer, cure research and facilitating the way of life for the people afflicted. Unfortunately, it is not quite the popular event here in Egypt and the Middle East, albeit some non-profit organization operating on the grounds of the event. It is quite commendable how it united many men of all ages and walks of life, exerting efforts leading to raising awareness and spreading the word about the importance of caring for one’s own health, regular checkups for tell-signs of sickness or tumours and prevention.
By intriguing others to inquire about the reason why you are starting to look like a raider in the post-apocalyptic universe of Mad Max, you somehow instil the idols of the campaign using the most powerful tool ever: the word of mouth. I believe it is the main focus of No Shave November to promote the habit of regular check-ups, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the importance of early detection and maintaining a vigorous mindset to care for one’s self.
On a side note, it can be the causative of funny situations and discussions within a work environment, especially those with strict dress codes. Many times I have seen gentlemen comparing the prowess of their facial hair and who can wear the best beard or the best moustache. I have seen sophisticated arguments and debates about the matter; it had a serious texture that made it so hard to not laugh whilst talking with them due to the absurdness of the whole context from a bird-eye view. I clearly remember a conversation amounting to over an hour about the pros and cons of sporting a standalone goatee in contrast to trimming a soul patch. It literally ended in a physical fight in a matter making you feel that you are living in a romantic comedy movie.
No Shave November became an amusing tradition, gaining ground, followers, promoters and fans by the years, for all the noble and mundane reasons alike. Yet, it serves a purpose, even if subtly, inducing a form of solidarity and unity over an idea of taking care of one’s own health and to not be ashamed to ask for help when needed. Moreover, let’s face it, we totally love to indulge our laziness and just don’t shave; you always wondered what a full beard would look like on you, now is your chance, your majesty! King of the beard! Stay thy hand from that subtle and let it flow for the grace of sweet Movember!