Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

By Connor Rice

This is part two of a multi-week series chronicling columnist Connor Rice’s experiences during No Shave November 2011.

If a beard grows on a quiet man, does it really count?

I’ve always been introverted in school settings. Even if I have full comprehension of a lesson, and there is something I can add to discussion, I won’t make a sound. I’d rather keep my mouth shut for fear of coming off as an uppity know-it-all, or even as something much more horrifying: wrong.

Now, as anyone who knows me can validate, I’m fairly lazy when it comes to the upkeep of my facial hair. This has produced some interesting reactions to my public account of No Shave November. A general lack of interaction with my classmates has left them unaware that, more often than not, they have already seen me with a full beard.

“Now we get to see it grow in real time,” one student remarked after recognizing me from my pictures.

Unlike the itch that a clean shave has left me dealing with, the idea of getting to watch my facial hair accumulate seems to be novel to those filling the desks around me. The irony of it all is that they have pretty much been witness to this phenomenon since the first day of class.

Should I be alarmed? Has “Novembeard” inadvertently forced me to address the shortcomings of my personality?

Doubtful. I’d be more willing to entertain this notion if my friends were not making these comments, as well.

Sadly, I’m just blond. Lighter pigmentation often leaves my beard less than eye-catching.

Thus, like a floundering celebrity, my scruffy visage suddenly has life via media attention and societal interest. It has become more defined, longer and thicker in an instant.

And all over America, young men in positions similar to mine are surely experiencing a similar phenomenon. Their carelessness in regard to appearance means something more than a nihilistic attitude towards grooming. Even those who are unable to grow more than peach fuzz are suddenly included in the time-honored tradition of the beard. Temporary reprieve is given to those that find themselves realizing they need a trim every so often.

But like the month itself, “No Shave” will be over in a few weeks, and none of it will matter anymore.

Enjoy your temporary status while you can, guys. The razors come back out in December.