I’ve gone through the same pattern for five straight No-Shave Novembers.
I shave for the last time a few days before Halloween, hoping my inability to grow a full beard might be mitigated with a little extra time. My efforts are rewarded for the first few days of the month with something approaching decent facial hair. Surely, I tell myself, this is the year my beard finally fills in.
Then that dream, like all my dreams, is crushed by the merciless march of entropy.
Two weeks into November, I look like a mangy freak. ninety percent of my beard is just plain-old uneven, while the other 10 percent is busy burrowing its way into China. I shave, my groomed face an ever-present reminder of another defeat, my discarded hairs a glimpse into the abyss.
This is a plea to anybody who can relate to my plight: stop trying to participate in No-Shave November. No amount of scruff can ever cover your insecurities.
I’ll make an exception for people growing their hair for selfless motives. If you’re going unkempt for charity, you’re cool. But for the rest of us spotty beta males, nothing beyond stubble will ever be acceptable.
Historically, the popularity of facial hair has waxed and waned in accordance with everything from the quality of razors to social views on masculinity. A quarter of all US presidents have sported some sort of hair on their face, most recently William Howard Taft from 1909-1913. James Harden, Yosemite Sam and Albus Dumbledore, arguably the three most influential men to ever walk the Earth, were all bearded as heck.
Modern America is more divided on the hairy face issue than ever before. After a hipster-led resurgence at the start of the decade, beards as a social trend have stagnated. Columnists proclaim the victory and defeat of facial hair with equal fervor.
I’m here to tell you to stop worrying and love the shave. On a personal level, having a bad beard is like wearing a neon sign that says “I AM INSECURE ABOUT MY MASCULINITY.” You deserve to let yourself be judged by your other qualities. Maybe you’re a great breakdancer, maybe you moonlight as a serial killer. Maybe, just maybe, the Principality of Liechtenstein is searching for a clean-shaven version of you to name successor to Prince Hans-Adam II. Until you shear your excess wool, how will anybody ever know?
Professionally, corporate America has given its opinion loud and clear: a resounding no. Forget whatever contrarian takes on workplace facial hair you have read over the last few years – the only companies you can run with a bad beard are based out of your mother’s basement. Give up the dream. It’s cramped down there.
So shave it all off, groom it, trim it. Do whatever you have to do to make yourself look as little like the guys on “Duck Dynasty” as humanly possible.
You’ll thank yourself for that blessing when it’s all over. Speaking from experience, no lumberjack fantasy or hidden double chin is worth the satisfaction that comes from not looking like a dweeb. Nobody likes a dweeb.