Say what you will about Satan, he sports a well-groomed beard.
This month is No Shave November. It is the time of year in which men suspend their daily shaving ritual and let their beards and moustaches grow wild and free in support of men’s health issues.
Which means that on Thanksgiving men all over the country with scraggly, three-week stubble will be applying their razor sharp cutting utensils to innocent birds rather than to their faces.
Ironically, turkeys all over the country spend the year growing wild and free only to face serious serious health issues during No Shave November. You can understand their frustration.
The idea behind No Shave November started in Australia, where men grow moustaches during the month to raise awareness for cancer. The event is called Movember, which apparently is a clever cross between moustache and November. Here I might suggest “Momember” is a more appropriate title. It is how you pronounce November after you cut your lip shaving.
Movember was later appropriated in the US as No Shave November and further liberated men’s facial hair to include beards and sideburns and neck hair and variant forms of unsightly volunteers that grow from eyebrows, ears, and nostrils. The idea is to donate the money men would otherwise spend on grooming their faces to support cancer research and treatment.
While it feels good to support such an important cause, in letting my own facial freak flag fly I am a little embarrassed. By forgoing what I would otherwise spend on facial grooming during the month I am only able to scrape up the dollar equivalent of a disposable razor, a cup of shaving cream, and the few torn bits of tissue paper that I stick on all the nicks and cuts.
Clearly I am not spending enough on my face. I had to add a zero to my donation to make me feel a little better.
This is where Satan comes in. I doubt anyone wants him to be the official face of No
Shave November, but he clearly spends a lot on grooming. I hope he is making a large donation to the American Cancer Society.
If you ask me, shaving itself is a serious men’s health issue. The whole idea of guiding a razor blade across your throat while looking in a mirror is barbaric. I don’t know if anyone has died at their own hands shaving, but I have seen enough movies to know how mob hits in the barber shop work. It is not pretty.
Of course there are electric razors, which by adding 120 volts to sharp blades in the bathroom near running water somehow makes shaving safer. I don’t buy it.
And I read somewhere that baby-faced Julius Caesar tweezed his unsightly stubble hair-by-hair each morning. Maybe it was safer, but he didn’t have to catch a train to work each day. And he probably donated even less money than I did during his November plucking hiatus.
Growing a beard is obviously a safe and natural alternative to the perils of shaving. But unless you play third base for the LA Dodgers, sporting facial hair actually requires more grooming not less. That is because just as hair on your head must be cut, so must hair on your face. And ultimately it can be sculpted into goatees, mutton chops, fu manchus, handlebars, and other satanic patterns.
For that reason perhaps men with beards should be persuaded to shave and donate what they save in clippers, combs, mustache wax, and beard shampoo to cancer. It could be done a couple of months earlier, maybe in Shave it September. I am sure turkeys would appreciate the gesture.
Throughout history beards and facial hair have gone in and out of favor. And it makes me wonder why men started shaving in the first place. Who was the first brave caveman to come up with the idea to strop a shard of flint and scrape his face with it? And what did he use for a mirror?
If you believe in natural selection, the first man probably shaved his face to increase his chances with the hot Neanderthal chicks who had grown tired of all the grizzle trapped in his matted nest of unkempt facial hair. And the great marauder Alexander the Great discouraged facial hair among his troops because it extended an additional handle enemies could grab hold to cut heads off.
So clearly survival must have played a role in shaving.
Still, this doesn’t really explain why Darwin had a beard. But it might explain why his beard was neat and trim. He had 10 kids.
This year I am going to dispose of my disposable razor and cultivate my beard.
I don’t know if it will improve my chances of survival, but my wife likes it.