Editor’s Column: A New November

It’s November at Colgate and we all know what that means: the leaves are mostly on the ground, it’s already snowed and it’s about time to break out the winter accessories. Since it’s November, these accessories happen to include facial hair for most guys. As a girl, I don’t really understand the appeal of growing a beard for a month straight, nor do I appreciate the aesthetic. Okay – so shaving takes time that you could be using to do other things and it’s a good excuse to be lazy for a while and give your razor a vacation, and I get that. I also understand that this whole thing started as a fundraiser for charity, but it doesn’t change my opinion of No Shave November. Most participants are not in it to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Changing it to Movember doesn’t really make it better either, though the look is much more amusing (you know what they say: not every man with a mustache is a pedophile, but every pedophile has a mustache). Another point of contention I have with this month is where does it leave everyone else who can’t experience the apparent joys of growing and sporting facial hair? For those of us left out of No Shave November, I propose a new plan. I declare this month “No Shame November.” While the name may sound odd and even a bit scandalous, it’s just what you make of it. With the recent controversies around campus, it’s about time we let things go a bit. On a small campus such as Colgate’s, it’s easy enough to look around and pass judgment on any little detail that we may find “off” in some way. But why do we do that? There’s not much point, really, which is where No Shame November comes into play. Despite what the name suggests, I do not recommend going into this month with the mindset that shamelessness is the way to go – as I discovered last year, that’s where bad decisions come from. What I’m suggesting is more about how such arbitrary judgment should be received. It’s a month about doing what you want. Why let snide remarks ruin your fun? People worry too much about what others think and, as a result, tend to miss out on some opportunities. It’s not good for your mental health to be ashamed of doing what you really want, no matter how “normal” it makes you seem. Normal is boring, anyway.

As I said before, No Shame November isn’t so much about having a free pass to do whatever you want for a month; it’s about doing what you want without worrying about what others will think. More importantly, it’s a baby step towards letting yourself be yourself. Not to sound like the posters you sometimes see posted in bathrooms or that one in the bookstore downtown, but college can get stressful. We all know that, but sometimes we need a little help when it comes to taking things less seriously. If the idea takes getting used to, just take a look around at the mustaches that will soon be taking form and realize that this month is all about not being totally serious. Life is too short to not do what you want, so get out there and go for it totally shame-free – at least until December.

Contact Emily Kress at [email protected].