By Alfredo Hernandez
Day 1: October 20th, 2014
November rears its head and with it wafts the smell of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Santa Ana winds. Also coinciding with Turkey Month is No-Shave November. Started in 1999 in Sydney, Australia, when a few friends in a pub came up with the idea for a campaign, No-Shave November has transformed into a globally recognized event to raise awareness for a variety of male specific cancers, such as prostate and testicular cancer. Being one of the four men on the Plaid Press staff, I wanted to show solidarity for those suffering from prostate or testicular cancer, while simultaneously promoting support for research, by growing out a beard of my own. For a teenage boy, this process is not easy. I have to suffer under daily scrutiny as my peers glare down my shaggy patches of fur on my face, but I will go the full month, and document the process on a weekly basis. For the sake of having a month long beard by publishing day, I have begun growing my beard a bit early, hence the October 20 start date. So without further ado, this journal has commenced. I am clean shaven and ready to go.
Day 8: October 28, 2014
A week in, and progress is looking promising. The hairs have passed the initial stage of looking like a sea of black dots on my face and have become 1 cm long hairs. I am slowly exiting the stage of 5:00 shadow and entering the arena of what I like to call “exponential hair growth.” Week one of four done; the struggle continues.
Day 15: November 3, 2014
The period of exponential hair growth has gone well, but I am slowly reminded of my inadequacies at facial hair growth. My moustache grows in, resembling a fu manchu without any of the majesty of a proper manchu. My philtrum remains as hairless as my forehead. Meanwhile, my chin and neck are hoarding hair harder than a squirrel preparing for winter. To top it all off, the itchiness is slowly creeping in. Halfway through, and I am slowly reminded why I usually shave after a week.
Day 22: November 10, 2014
There are great annoyances that men have to endure, the greatest of them all is the beard itch. As I walk past my bathroom mirror, I stare and see a defeated man. I glance at my razor, and I have to restrain myself as my hand reaches for it. It taunts me, promising sweet release from the evil that is constant beard itch, but I have made a commitment I must keep. The progress of days only brings about more and more itchiness. In respect to my beard, it has grown a sizable amount, but I must admit that it does not grow much from this point on. The month is almost done, my challenge nearly complete.
Day 26: November 14 2014
Sadly, and I mean that with the most genuine of sentiments, my challenge has come to an end. After looking at myself in the mirror, I am reminded why I never let my beard grow out anymore. It is itchy, it makes my face all hot when I run, and it does not make me anymore presentable to mankind. At the same time though, it is all worth it. My problems are trivial when compared to any individual who has to suffer through the horror that is cancer, man or woman. Any little bit I can do to raise awareness to a cause or promote an individual to donate money is worth it. So, while I go off to shave off this caterpillar, remember the real reason for No-Shave November or any other charity that holds these campy challenges. A small amount may seem insignificant, but in this fight any little bit can help, even a teenage beard.