The leaves are falling and the beards are growing. This is the premise of no-shave-November.
Every man who has a pair will participate in this classic ritual that allows facial hair to flourish and girlfriends to wince at the inevitable scratchiness.
As a particularly hairy individual, I decided to start a little early to give others the knowledge of what to experience this no-shave-November.
It began in early October, a time not known for beards. I was planning a Halloween trip to New York City and vowed that I would not shave until the end of the month.
For the first few days this idea was great, but I soon experienced the many, and often negative, aspects of growing facial hair for a month.
Stage one: This is the initial stage. During this stage everything is great. Gruff grows across your face and you feel badass. George Clooney is a fan of gruff and every girl loves him. Somehow you channel that inner-Clooney and believe every girl loves you.
Stage two: By this time, the thrill of having gruff is gone. You have now entered the itchy stage. The baby-soft skin that once dominated your cheeks is now being harassed by the hair that you would have normally shaved off. The only positive during this time is knowing that as much as your beard itches you, it will itch your girlfriend even more; for some strange reason hearing your girl complain about the itchiness of your newly achieved manliness gratifies your ego.
Stage three: The itch is gone, but not for good. This is temporary reprieve. Your girlfriend will still find your facial hair scratchy and annoying, and the former joy of hearing her complain no longer exists since she no longer wants to be anywhere near your face. You feel sad and alone.
Stage four: The itching comes back, but your facial hair is taking on a look that begins to look like an actual full beard. You can also begin playing with your facial hair. This is especially positive during boring conversations that allow you to appear attentive — there’s a certain wisdom people accept when you play with your beard — while actually zoning.
Stage five: By this time you’re facial hair has softened. It no longer bothers your girlfriend. You have made it…almost.
Stage six: More itching as the hair begins to grow in all directions. Every time you look in the mirror you are bothered by the uncontrolled nature of your facial hair. Some have grown facing outward, others downward.
Stage seven: You have made it to the likes of Zach Galifianakis, and are now the owner of a mostly full beard. It looks grubby; liquids get caught in it; people sometimes throw you change thinking you are homeless; when you get out of the shower and stroke your beard water flows out of it.
By Halloween my beard reached stage seven. As temperatures in New York cooled at night, my facial hair kept my face warm and toasty. The beard is natures scarf. When the leaves fall, let your facial hair grow.
Image credit: Wikimedia