Beards and Why to Shave Them

Man shaving his beard. || Photo credit to  Patrick Coddou  on  Unsplash

Man shaving his beard. || Photo credit to Patrick Coddou on Unsplash

The opinions reflected in this OpEd are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of staff, faculty and students of The King's College.


ABC News broadcaster Paul Harvey would frequently end his radio broadcasts with a simple request, “Old man, shave.”

Harvey was a long-time conservative radio host--so it makes perfect sense that he would support clean-shaven men. It also makes perfect sense if you have no idea who he is as he died nearly a decade ago. To be honest, I wouldn’t either. But, my dad often repeats the same request to me when we’re about to end a phone call.

Here’s the thing, you should shave your face. Not because Paul Harvey said so. Because that’s precisely the kind of person that would make you (read: me) not want to shave. You shouldn’t shave because of him.

Why would anyone allow the hairs on their face to grow out, become visible, and then an obstacle for eating? There are a few reasons.

One reason could be that you’re intensely involved in the No-Shave November movement. There are ads on the subway for this.

“The goal of No-Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free,” the movement’s website reads. “Donate the money you typically spend on shaving and grooming to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.”

That is admirable. And if that is your reason for not shaving, my hands are tied in arguing to persuade you otherwise.

But that is probably not your reason, is it? No, you might say it is. You may even get a nod from a fellow “Movember” bro. But, that would be artificial because you’re likely not shaving for two other reasons: you think you look really good with facial hair. Or, you’re just kind of lazy about it.

The first reason you don’t shave is way more interesting than the first.

Perhaps you saw “A Star is Born” and you practice your best Jackson Maine smirk in the mirror in the morning. Right on. Except not. The shaven face is peculiar because it looks childish. Every guy who hits puberty and realizes something besides peach-fuzz starts coming out of his chin is enthralled by the vision of a lumberjack. Grab your flannel and your guitar, you’ve become a folk hero overnight.

But you haven’t. You’re not there yet. Keep your face shaven. You know what that will do? It will be honest. Honestly young, like you are. Honestly clean, like you (maybe) are. And when the time comes, all of that air and experience that your face has gotten whilst being out from under a blanket of fur will give you a face to go out and about.

Don’t try to skip steps. You, like everyone else, have to wait your turn. Shaving doesn’t make you a man. But, neither does being able to grow a beard. So scrape away the patchy grossness and let nothing get in the way of you finding out who you are. All a beard can do is hinder you.

Let me adjust Mr. Harvey’s request: young man, shave.