October 31, 2012

Shave the Date

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Here we sit, on November 1, 2012, somewhere between the silliness of Halloween, Sandy’s unassuming and totally anti-climactic sweep through Ithaca and the imminent presidential election. Just another Thursday.For most, November 1 is the day after Halloween. For many, it marks 55 days until Christmas. However, for others (perhaps the more manly amongst us), November 1 marks the first day of the most underrated holiday of the year: No Shave November. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this blissfully (and self-explanatory) hairy celebration, allow me to explain. For the next 30 days, a select group of men (or women) on Cornell’s campus will put away their razors, work through itching, scratching and probably an awkward moustache phase to develop their most burly of facial hair in accordance with God’s orders. What, you ask? No Shave November is a religious holiday? But of course! In Leviticus (19:27) God demands, “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” Though the month is not specified, and I am no expert on anything biblical, my gut tells me to do as He says.However, it’s easy for me to say as I am a mere onlooker of this jovial celebration (I am choosing to sit this one out this year). Men who observe No Shave November (or Noshember, as it may be), agree not only to endure discomfort (both physical and emotional) of untamed facial hair, but also sign onto going home for Thanksgiving with a gnarly beard and / or moustache and having to explain to mom the significance of the festival of hair. That alone is admirable.It is unclear if No Shave November is a celebration of all-that-is-male or an excuse to be lazy, but I think that regardless of its origins, more Cornellians should observe it. First and foremost: Being hairy can do good. No Shave November has become such a widely observed holiday that there is now a nonprofit organization, Movember, aiming to “change the face of men’s health.” By getting men involved (the organization calls them “Mo Bros”) through No Shave November, Movember promotes (through month-long events and campaigns) annual check ups, male cancer awareness and early cancer detection, diagnosis and treatment. So, you get to be you and support a good cause.Second, if you’re worried about that awkward scruff, fear not. Tell any girl that you have an aggressive beard because you and your buds are observing the Noshember holiday, and you are automatically exempt from being thrown into the “gross and hairy” category because you have a legitimate, even God-forsaken, reason for not shaving. Cornell needs some feel good camaraderie on campus these days. In recent weeks, the mood has been appropriately somber. Men have lovingly stood behind women as we search for our safety and role on campus, and students have come together to discuss difficult but important issues facing #ThePeoplesSchool. I propose that No Shave November will provide followers with a light-hearted sense of community that The Hill currently lacks.Thirdly, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. In the same way that (some) male students are supporting — and actively listening to and engaging with — women in our efforts to celebrate who we are and who we deserve to be on this campus, I encourage men to embrace their inner dude. Brotherhood, I argue, can be found outside of fraternity basements.Lastly, I would be remiss if I preached Noshember as a be-who-you-are-feel-good holiday without including Cornell’s female population and inviting those who feel so inclined to throw the razors away as well. Challenging gender roles and getting out of binders and into meaningful conversation is not only awesome, but also important. After all, it is just hair. There exists the potential to create a Noshemberina community amidst all this womanizing (both on campus and in political discourse) and to further challenge our role on Cornell’s campus. The idea that women on this campus would ban together and stop shaving their legs — in order to say something about who we are — seems kind of awesome. And, females, Noshember’s laziness appeal applies to you as well. In short, No Shave November is a gender-blind celebration and includes anyone who’s willing to hold on for the hairy ride.So, for any of you who woke up today feeling the post-Halloween blues or are still resenting the administration for allowing Cornell to be the only college east of Nevada to remain in session through Sandy’s ferocity, I remind you that the best is yet to come. Welcome to No Shave November. Stay warm, show it, grow and love your hair. And don’t forget: It’s never too early to start planning for Don’t Shave December or Just Don’t Shave January.

Hannah Deixler is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at [email protected]. Shades of Grey appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: Hannah Deixler