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No Shave November: It's Not You, It's Your Facial Hair

Andre Gray |
November 14, 2013 | 7:23 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

The Beard doesn't just grow, it creates. Benjaminasmith.Creative Commons.Flickr
The Beard doesn't just grow, it creates. Benjaminasmith.Creative Commons.Flickr
It’s that time of year again. Boyfriends everywhere are nearly two weeks into the gentleman’s tradition of “No Shave November,” a silent sport that separates men from boys in a month-long dash to grow the longest beard, moustache, or patch of stubble. But just as us men are getting into the thick of it, women everywhere face a much more difficult challenge: figuring out how to tell their significant other to drop out of the competition. Let’s face it. Some guys just can’t pull it off. I myself was given “the talk” just a week in, mercilessly compelled to stifle my respectable scruff before its time. Depending on how sensitive to criticism a guy is, popping the question can be treacherous for a relationship. Luckily, there are things you girls can do to lessen the blow. Here are some tips for telling your boyfriend to re-brandish the razor without hurting his feelings: 

1. Respect the culture

Try to understand where we’re coming from. From our perspective, “No Shave November” accomplishes two things. First, it’s a campaign to raise cancer awareness. The money we usually spend on grooming and preening, we instead donate to cancer research and education. At the same time, it’s also a way for us to explore our guy-hood.

New worlds to explore. izacless.Tumblr.
New worlds to explore. izacless.Tumblr.










Let me explain. When a man doesn’t shave, he experiences a transformation. It’s his chance to suddenly become something more.  The absent minded intellectual, the troubled artist, the burly woodsman, the rugged adventurer, with facial hair all of the romanticized characters we play in our head movies become accessible realities. When you tell him to shave, what he hears is, “I want you to hack your dreams and fantasies down to their bare stumps.” You need to be gentle about it. Sit him down. Speak slowly and thoughtfully. Go with the grain, not against it. 

2. Make beard contact

Unkempt as it may look, try stroking his fuzz while you break the news. It establishes intimacy, and shows you care. Even a slight caress can go a long way. 

Fear not the final frontier. megpie252.Tumblr.
Fear not the final frontier. megpie252.Tumblr.














3. Give a good reason 

Feel free to draw inspiration from the following: It tickles when I kiss you. It makes you look too intimidating. Too old. Too attractive. Too bad-boy. Too pirate. It reminds me of the Wild West. You look so stylish and European without it. Your face is too handsome to cover up. You don’t need it, you already look like you spearfish. I just like the way you handle a razor blade, it’s like you’re a Samurai warrior. 

4. Be there in the final moments

Once he has been convinced, do whatever you can to be a part of the sad ritual of removal. Buy the razor, apply the shaving cream, play bluegrass music, administer the last rites; anything to prove your cultural awareness and sympathetic commitment to the transition. 

5. Don’t tell him he looks younger

He knows he looks younger without facial hair. It was one of the reasons he participated in “No Shave November” in the first place. Instead of reminding him of the fact, try a more lighthearted comment. Tell him he looks sharp. Put-together. Refreshed. Slick. 

Slick is a good word. nonjuding.Tumblr.
Slick is a good word. nonjuding.Tumblr.







6. Go out for a treat after

After all is shaved and done he might play it cool, but inside he’s hurting. Do something with him manly enough to reinstate his self-confidence in his gender role, but not so manly that it emphasizes what he lost. A horror movie followed by frozen yogurt is a good option. If you can find a place that serves meat-flavored frozen yogurt, even better. Another choice is a steak dinner, or maybe burgers while you talk about the fact that Hemingway didn’t have a beard until he was in his 30s. Play Battleship, quote Irish folk songs, find a jar for him to open, the possibilities are endless. Make it as important as he already thinks it is. 

With these tips in mind, there’s no reason you won’t be able to turn a painful conversation into a slightly less painful conversation. The beard may be gone, but your relationship will survive. And the best part is, you can still donate the money you would have spent on an elaborate scheme to shave him in his sleep to the American Cancer Society!   










Reach Staff Reporter Andre Gray here.



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