Okay, maybe I’ve always been free, but for the past 29 days, my face has been the prisoner of a strange yearly ritual commonly referred to as No Shave November.
I’ve participated in the hideous month of mustaches and man-hair since my freshman year here at Marquette. At the time, it seemed like an awesome idea. After all, what guy doesn’t want to parade around the city with a big, manly beard that says, “If you’ll excuse me, I have to carry a redwood log that I just chopped down with my bare hands?”
That’s how the month of November always starts, but 30 days later, I’m stuck looking in the mirror at the sad, furry mess growing out of my chin that resembles a small rodent. My face refuses to grow a beard; it only manages a goatee pattern, leaving my cheeks and sideburns a barren wasteland. I am doomed forever to look like a “Die Hard” villain.
That’s why I’m proposing a successor to No Shave November.
There’s lots of reasons to put myself and those I love through this (seriously, this “beard” has ruined Mueller family Thanksgiving photos for almost half a decade at this point). On a wide-scale level, the origins of No Shave November – or Movember, as it is also called – are based in charity and raising awareness for noble causes.
And on a personal level, it’s my senior year. That means it’s my last chance to attempt to grow a beard before entering the real world, where randomly looking like Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” is not a good look for an interview.
Even with those excuses, though, the fact is that during No Shave November, most guys look like unsightly schlubs. A few participants have the beard-growing prowess to look like the Brawny man, but everyone else can only pull at their feeble chin stubble in jealousy and frustration. The most common female reactions to No Shave November, in fact, seem to be “Don’t do it” and “Oh please dear God, don’t do it.”
So, guys, after a month of leaving our appearance unshorn and unkempt, I think it’s our duty to make it up to the people we’ve forced our grungy looks upon. I happen to have the ideal solution: Dapper December.
The concept is simple: We’ve looked like crap for the past month; let’s look handsome for a month in return. I’m not just talking about shaving off the beard (or whatever tufts of facial hair you may unconvincingly call a beard). I say dress up in a shirt and tie every day, maybe even a vest and a suit jacket too. Spare no expense. I mean, have you seen the photos of yourself from the past month? Unpleasant.
Of course, Dapper December takes a bit of effort. You have to wake up a bit earlier, maybe set up outfits the night before, and unless you own an Express or a Gap, you’ll probably have to do some dry cleaning, laundry or get creative. But that’s the point; it is a change from a month when guys everywhere represent the result of minimal effort.
Appearances don’t mean everything, but they do reflect how a person wants the world to perceive them.
It also reflects how a person sees themself. It’s trite to say that if you look good, you feel good, but it’s true. Wearing a suit and knowing you look like a character from “Mad Men” (minus the sexism and alcoholism) makes you more confident. And considering finals are just around the corner, I know many of us could use all the confidence we can get (with the least amount of studying, if possible).
Psychological mumbo-jumbo aside, the goal is to show an effort. Nowadays, our culture has made it acceptable to routinely throw on sweatpants, athletic clothes and a cheap sweatshirt. It’s the norm to look lazy and present the image that you just don’t care. But unfortunately, that mindset may seep into everyday life and can affect how you interact and work with others.
I understand there are days when you wake up at noon, and popping on a shirt and tie seems like more effort than necessary. But you might be surprised how much better you feel when you step out the door with your best foot forward.
For the past month, you feared that the world would see your face. Now, in Dapper December, you’ll be ready to face the world.