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Tales from No Shave November

chrislebrun No Shave November Day 30
Day 30

It does not take much to realize that these pictures (taken yesterday) are very different from my normal dashing good looks and clean shaven head. Not that the mountain man look isn’t growing on me (pun intended!)

While it looks like I’ve been a contestant on Survivor, spending the last month on a remote, tropical island with Jeff Probst, the truth is that I’ve been at home, living a normal life — minus the shaving!  That’s because I’ve been participating in No Shave November — a way to raise awareness (and money) for prostate cancer and other men’s health issues.

No Shave November Day 26
Day 26

But let’s be clear: No Shave November is no Breast Cancer Awareness month!  That’s a cakewalk of non-commitment, where people can waffle about their support for a great cause, choosing to be supportive one day by wearing pink and choosing to not be supportive the next.  Participating in No Shave November requires full commitment all 2,592,000 seconds during the month of November!

Chrislebrun.com No Shave November Day 23
Day 23

That commitment was double for me because I typically shave my head as well.  No Shave means No Shave!  During this month I got to experience things I had not experienced in 15 years: like bed-head and the breeze blowing through my hair. I also got to see exactly how far my hair line has receded in the last 13 years I’ve been shaving my head.

Now that No Shave November is over I want to share a little about my experience participating and provide tips for guys who are thinking about participating next year!

Ignore the Itch

Growing a beard is going to itch!  The hardest part is making it thru the first week to 10 days and I saw guys bail during that time.  If you can make it to day 10, it’s smooth sailing (well figuratively) from there on.

Be Prepared for Reactions

chrislebrun No Shave November Day 15
Day 15

Letting your beard grow for a month is going to cause people to notice. And people will comment and tell you how bad your facial hair looks.  This is especially true if you work with teenagers like I do!  Don’t let this criticism get to you!  Have a good, light-hearted comeback and use this as an opportunity to talk about prostate cancer.  After all, that’s why you’re doing this.

Don’t Take Too Many Pictures

Lets face it: not a lot is changing between day 16 and day 18 or day 26 and day 30.  Don’t flood the world with pictures of for face all month long.  First of all, there are too many self portraits of people taken in the bathroom mirror floating around the internet (mostly taken by teenage girls).  And as narcissistic as I am, I didn’t feel the need to take a pic every day.  I think posting pictures every 3 to 5 days is about right, with other posts about No Shave November in between to keep the awareness up.  Of course once it’s all over, take lots of pictures of the before and after.

Have a Supportive Wife

chrislebrun No Shave November Day 10
Day 10

I can’t underscore enough how important this is.  I’m not saying you have to ask your wife for permission before participating in No Shave November (you’re a MAN after all and it’s your face!!) but making sure she’s on board makes for a more enjoyable month.  Sure, she threw a few jabs my way on Facebook but she embraced the idea.  And more importantly she continued to embrace ME even after I was a bushy mess! (Talk about an even LONGER month….)

Prostate Cancer is No Walk in the Park

chrislebrun No Shave November Day 5
Day 5

While no one likes to talk about prostate cancer, it’s the second most common cancer in men (behind skin cancer) and second leading cause of cancer death in men (behind lung cancer), with 1 man in every 6 expected to be diagnosed in their lifetime.  The latest stats estimate that 241,740 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and 28,170 men are expected to die from the disease in 2012 alone.  But prostate cancer is not a death sentence.  Early detection and treatment can be very effective so as unpleasant as the check-up may be, it can be a matter of life and death for men above 40.

chrislebrun No Shave November day 31
December 1

Thanks for everyone who supported me (i.e. made fun of me) while I participated in No Shave November!  If you haven’t noticed, I’m kinda digging the beard and am going to give the cleaned-up version a try.  I’d ask you to tell me what you think, but based on the last 30 days I know I don’t need to ask!