This month is No Shave November (NSN). While fairly self-explanatory, it's the time of year when men grow beards.
Now, there is some debate over the idea of "not shaving." I have heard some individuals with little knowledge of the subject (i.e. girls) say that NSN means that no shaving whatsoever should be allowed. To which I reply: Men are allowed to trim their necks, at the very least.
Failure to do so results in the dreaded "neard," or neck beard. This scraggly morass of sickly hairs crawls below the chin, and then down and over the Adam's apple (technically, the thyroid cartilage). For most men it's unbearably itchy, and so trimming it is perfectly acceptable. As a man who is growing a NSN beard, I can attest to this fact.
To those who think NSN is absurd and useless, I submit the following 10 real reasons men like me grow beards:
1) Facial hair is cool. Seriously. Having a dark forest of hair covering your face gives you an aura of suave mystery and a classy, debonair air.
2) We grow facial hair because it makes us manlier. Sean Connery (as Indiana Jones' dad), Russell Crowe (Maximus), Tom Selleck (Magnum, P.I.) and Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) spring immediately to mind. Having any sort of facial hair means you're not a metro man. It's theoretically possibly to be manly without a beard, moustache or goatee — Daniel Craig (the new James Bond) is a prime example — but having a beard really does help.
3) We grow facial hair because it makes us look like Chuck Norris. Norris is the poster man for action. Norris has a beard (note that it's still well-trimmed). Therefore we should have beards. The logic is unstoppable — just like Norris' roundhouse kicks. On the Internet, it's rumored that Norris doesn't have a chin under his beard, just another fist. But the beard's still important.
4) We grow facial hair because we like the way it feels. Think about it: You might have hair on your head, but we have it on our chins. Let me elaborate with the next two points.
5) We grow facial hair because we like to stroke it while we think. Nothing else can make us look more intelligent.
6) We grow facial hair because with it we can scratch our manly arms and shoulders. Contrary to popular belief (especially among those of the female persuasion), beards are not really itchy. Sure, they might be a little itchy those first few weeks, but after a while, that feeling goes away. In fact, the natural scrubby pad that is our chins is perfect for taking care of other itchy parts of our upper body, like our huge biceps.
7) We grow facial hair because we like the way it smells. Really. It smells good. You have to rub it a few times, but the sheer manly scent generated is second only to the wonderful aroma of a crew cut. It's hard to describe, but bearded men know what I am talking about.
8) We grow facial hair because we can store food in our beards. Did you enjoy that s'more you had earlier? Good. You can lick your beard and still pick out bits of graham cracker, chocolate bar and marshmallow for hours afterward.
9) We grow facial hair because the chicks dig it. Err ... I mean, women find beards attractive. Ok, maybe just some girls. But I'll take any reasonable advantage I can get.
10) We grow facial hair because we're lazy, but in a good way. Think of it as a sort of laissez-fair outlook on life. If you don't shave, you save time for more important things, like getting an extra 15 minutes of sleep or perhaps breakfast. Remember: This is not an excuse for being a slob; if you have beard, you should try to keep it under control.
If you (girls) were skeptical before, now you have all of the above to ponder. For the men with beards out there, I salute you. Keep on growin' your symbols of manliness this fine November.
For the guys without beards who might be reading this, I encourage you to grow hair on those chins. You'll feel more like a man than ever before. You can take my beard for it.
[Reach columnist Will Mari at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
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