A call to participate in “No-Shave November”

Photo courtesy Calvin College.
Photo courtesy Calvin College.

It’s November. Halloween festivities loom in the background. Memories of an endless parade of cat costumes, superheroes with fake muscles, and that one-guy-who-everybody-thought-dressed-as-a-hipster-but-he-just-didn’t-know-it was-a-costume-party are the only remnants of the ever-infamous skating party. Calvin students are desperately looking for some sort of holiday to tide them over until Thanksgiving break.

Fear not, ladies and gentlemen. It’s No-Shave November.

Well, perhaps that deserves to be rephrased. Fear not, gentlemen. Ladies, now is the time to be afraid. It’s No-Shave November.

It’s time for the men of Calvin to forgo the razor in favor of varying levels of scruffiness. This is the one month out of the year that the ever-nagging urge to not shave is given a legitimate reason to exist.

Not just to exist. But to flourish.

Throughout history, beards have been what distinguishes great men. Ernest Hemingway, the epitome of masculinity, was an outspoken champion of a great beard. Abraham Lincoln’s political career soared after growing his. John Steinbeck, arguably the most compelling voice of the American experience, famously took great pride in his own facial hair. Speaking of Johns, take a glance at a portrait of John Calvin next time you get a chance. You’ll notice a beard.

But if you’re still not convinced, all you need to do is glance across the sem pond.

President Le Roy’s beard is almost more famous than the man himself. Appearing on T-shirts and being carved into pumpkins, it’s fair to say that Le Roy’s beard is kind of a big deal. Even a bigger deal than Bob Crow’s mustache.

There is a rumor floating around, an urban legend if you will, that Le Roy once went to a barbershop to get his haircut. The barber, misunderstanding the directions, shaved off Le Roy’s beard. It immediately grew back.

Recently Le Roy’s beard was sighted in New York City, protecting the Statue of Liberty from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy.

But Le Roy beard sightings predate recent history. Stories of his beard have attained legendary status. Le Roy’s beard is credited by most history textbooks with storming the beaches of Normandy, going on hunger strikes with Mahatma Gandhi and having a permanent seat around King Arthur’s round table.

This is the time. This is the place. Men of Calvin, you are being called to participate in something greater than yourself. Perhaps humanity cannot attain perfection, but this is our one chance to get as close to it as we can.

Put down your razor and pick up your comb. It’s No-Shave November.

About the Author

Matt Medendorp

Matt Medendorp is a Chimes guest writer for the 2012-13 school year.

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