November is for No Shaving

November is not very pretty, even before the attempt of men to grow mustaches and beards. The remaining leaves are brown and shriveled. The days are darker, colder, gloomier. With the election over, commercials bombard viewers with premature images of Christmas. Oh, and men try growing out their facial hair.halloween-1991

I’m blessed with great beard-growing abilities. Both sides of my family have passed on these genes; in fact, except for their childhood photographs, I have never seen my father or grandfather without beards. Combined with layers of flannel, suspenders, and a rusting Chevy, it’s a great New Hampshire look.

Given this beard inheritance, four years ago I decided that growing a Novembeard was too easy for me. It was akin to giving up Gilmore Girls or anchovies for Lent. No sacrificing involved. And so, before I came home for Thanksgiving I left only the mustache. It was not a great look and it took some confidence to leave the house with it on my face.

charles-kilton-1836-1889My first mustache outing was, appropriately, with my high school outing club. Every Black Friday, alumni and students in the Mascoma Outing Club hike Holt’s Ledge in Lyme and sled down the Dartmouth Skiway if there’s snow (this is the case about half the time). The guys on the hike thought my mustache looked “better than expected” but my female friends disagreed. “Shave it,” was their advice. This directive was particularly unfair from my friend, Colleen, who makes her living off of wearing outrageous outfits and doing what’s right, damned the consequences.

Nevertheless, because my female friends are always right and my male high school classmates are frequently wrong, I shaved the mustache. Into the sink went whiskers of prostate cancer solidarity. No photographs of mustachioed me exist.

This November, I’m back to just the beard. But the mustache, bless its selectively-beautifying soul, is technically still there in support of men’s health.

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