Last year, I had to shave the day before Thanksgiving. I didn’t want to totally give up on No-Shave November or Movember or whatever people call it nowadays, so I came up with a different idea.
Beginning on Nov. 1, I invited people to bid on my beard. I shared pictures of weird shaves and different beard styles and announced that the highest bidder would decide how I style my beard the day before I shave. Some friends bid money to keep my beard for one more day. Some offered $34 for me to cover my facial hair with glitter and glue. One friend wanted me to shave a crisscross pattern of hair over my cheeks. The highest bidder bid $45 for me to dye my beard pink.
All of the money went to Fight Colorectal Cancer, a non-profit that supports research, lobbying and reaching out to patients. According to its website, 93 cents of every dollar donated went to colorectal cancer programs.
Two days before Thanksgiving, I went to a friend who had dye and spent an hour trying to color my beard. I didn’t want to bleach my beard – somewhere in the ginger range – because I intended to shave the following day. I attempted to dye my beard twice. It mostly worked. I walked around campus and took pictures with my somewhat purple-colored facial hair.
When I got home, I shaved and realized that my face was stained purple. I mixed baking soda with water and smothered it against my sensitive, just-shaved skin. I dipped cotton pads into nail polish remover and swiped at myself until the remaining hairs ripped them to shreds. It took about an hour to burn and scrub the dye off.
Afterward, I went out for a haircut. My hair stylist told me that she wasn’t taking money from me. Instead, she wanted me to donate what I would have paid her to the cause. Overall, I raised about $200.
Across campus, guys and girls will use No-Shave November as an excuse not to shave. Faces, chests and legs will sprout into jungles of hair. Some people have kept up the tradition for months already. But how many will use this month as a way to raise awareness for colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and male suicide rates? How many of those will set up drives or events to raise money to research for cures and therapies or to lobby for federal support?
But I will. Kunal Kohli, managing editor of The Statesman, and I will be shaving on Wednesday and letting our beards grow out all month. As part of this journey, we will register with no-shave.org which will split any donations among Fight Colorectal Cancer, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
As a part of our series on No-Shave November, we will be posting weekly videos on our website and social media, discussing the various charitable causes that benefit from it. Along the way, we will also have photo progressions showing off how far our faces have come from clean shavenness to, hopefully, full-on wizard beards.
If you would like to donate to the cause, check out our page on no-shave.org. Everything from donations to discourse is appreciated. After all, No-Shave November is not only about donating, but learning. The more we can learn about prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and male suicide rates, the better we can help prevent and cure them.