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…How ’bout, “no shave no-never”?

And in reality, I’m kinda’ glad it’s over.  Some folks just shouldn’t have beards.  But, you don’t know til you try it. 

Ah, facial hair.  A topic on which no one is in the middle.  Everyone has an opinion on facial hair, beards, goatees, mustaches, side-burns…and soul patches. 


Now, I started a no shave movement of my own in 1971.  And with the exception of six weeks of boot camp in 1975  one year in 1978, I’ve had a beard ever since.  I like the way I look with a beard, and can’t remember myself without one. 

My children have never seen my full face. 

My niece, Amy, called it ‘fuzzies’ and learned to pull up by hanging onto my beard.

My daughter, said, “it wouldn’t be you dad, without it.”

When I grew it, my Mother said, “You were always so much cleaner than that, I never thought you’d grow a beard.”  I found this especially interesting.  The first place she went was, unshaven > unwashed.  Well, I’ve seen some of the folks she grew up around, and it isn’t hard to make that leap in some cases.  But, I assured her that in my case, it just wasn’t the equation.

My dad, channeling Red Foreman, said, “you look like a Bolshevik!”  He was not pleased.

But that passed.  I don’t think anyone would know who I was without it.

And it’s changed over the years.  It was black.  Now, no so much!

It was longer…now, ah, no.  Somehow along the way I started cropping it closer and closer.

And it was soft, now…not really.

But, it’s me, and I like it, and I feel like it makes me look like me. 

No shave November started out as a fund raiser on a college campus somewhere.  The debate and credit grabbing is universal, so I’m not going to land on any one place, we’ll just say it started on a college campus.

But think about it.

For thousands of years, beards were de rigeur –

The first primative shaving utensils are considered to be 30,000 years old.  Assuming one believes man has been on earth that long. 

Around 4000 BC, Women were removing body hair by making their own depilatory creams which contained combinations of arsenic, quicklime, and starch!  OUCH! Wonder how that got started?  Did Moses line everyone up and say, “ok, ladies, time to mow!”? 

Once metalworking began, permanent shaving devices came into play around 3000 BC.

Alexander the Great was a shaveaholic and would not go into battle with a five o’clock shadow.  His boyfriend hated it.  He also made his warriors shave, that way the enemy had nothing to grab for during hand to hand combat. 

Peter the Great made all the Russian aristocracy shave to “westernize” them.  i.e. he thought they looked like a buch of hicks. 

But beards have changed over time.  There were no options, now there are hundreds. 

King Gillete created the safety razor and changed shaving forever.  Lt. Col. Jacob Schick created the blade cartridge modeled after the repeating rifle, and an empire was born. 

The 40’s and 50’s saw only mountain men bearded, and facial hair became associated with hicks, foreigners, and ner-do-wells.

The 60’s brought the hippie movement and beards became a political and social statement letting the establishment know they weren’t going to follow along like cattle.

I grew mine because it was cold at Ohio State in January, I had an eight o’clock class, I could sleep later if I didn’t shave, and it kept my face warmer. 

There are religions that allow beards only on married men, and once you grow one, you can neither shave it nor trim it.

Some people hate them, some love them.  Beards instantly turn someone into a bada””, they make some people look smarter, some just scruffier.  It may make for a handy disguise.   And in an emergency, everyone turns to the bearded man.

During The War Between The States, (yes, I said that.) beards were on almost every general – on both sides.   And following said war, several of our Presidents had beards.   Abe Lincoln and Jeff Davis had beards.  Legend has it that Licnoln was advised by a woman to grow a beard simply because he was so ugly.  Nice gal! 


A patchy weak beard makes a man look patchy and weak.  If you can’t grow a good one, shave.

Benjamin Harrison

(B. Harrison, our last bearded President)

Beards are in beards are out.  But No shave November is here to stay.

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