no shaveWe’re 2/3 of the way through November, and I’m wondering how many of you have noticed changes in your boyfriend/husband/male counterpart’s facial hair. Each year, men’s eyes light up with glee as October ends and the razors are locked away for the next 30 days. For some, it’s a mini-vacation. For others , it’s already a way of life. My wife is used to the wildman look after 3+ years of it. But for many, it may be a shocking new world of poky kisses and extra napkins (beards are magnets for food). For those of you without much beard experience, I thought I would share some tips for dealing with this new world.

The first thing to keep in mind is that for many men, a beard is the ultimate symbol of manhood. Unfortunately, even the toughest guys can’t always grow the thickest foliage on their faces. Be delicate with your comments. Be supportive. You don’t have to lie about it, but choose your words carefully. Don’t ever use the following terms: patchy, thin, whispy, motley, haggard, ragged, fuzzy, or any of their synonyms. Tell them you notice it “maturing” and “spreading.” Offer to help measure it each day and track its progress, like little kids when they mark their height on the wall. 

What a difference a beard makes. He's me going from no hair to full Wolverine (with a few haircuts in between).
What a difference a beard makes! He’s me going from no hair to full Wolverine (with a few haircuts in between).


Secondly, a beard is the male form of makeup. It’s foundation and concealer all in one, hiding blemishes on half your face for free! It helps define the face and can cover weak chins and jawlines. It’s almost a form of plastic surgery. So be happy and know that your guy’s self-confidence is through the roof. 

Thirdly, you’re the one who knows about hair care. It took me several years to get the hang of being a longhair. There’s shampooing, conditioning, combing, brushing, getting all the clumps out, and all that constant maintenance. I can set up a pony tail, but that’s it. I wish I could braid and whatever else there is you can do to hair. My wife knows all that, and she’s my #1 resource for all hair-related questions. If you notice there’s maintenance that needs to be done, keep in mind you’re probably the only one noticing it. Guys just don’t know anything about hair, so they think it’s all good as long as it’s growing. Step up with some tips and suggestions and buy him the products he needs, because he’s probably running a bar of soap through it.

Finally, if things get overwhelming, remember it’s only a month (hopefully). You may find yourself needing a little more personal space, some extra time away from your guy and his new friend, and that’s ok. We get it that it pokes you when you get close; it pokes us, too. Think of all the handsome guys with beards, though. Hugh Jackman. Jake Gyllenhaal. Ryan Gosling. Nick Offerman. Of People’s last 28 “Sexiest Men Alive”, 19 had some form of facial hair, and Buzzfeed has about 90 lists of “Sexiest Men with Beards”. Maybe you’ll find out you’re a bearder and you never knew it.

14559384587_14f64bfb32_oA man doesn’t truly know himself until he’s pushed his hair to the limits of ruggedness. There’s an old saying: “The moon isn’t full until the beard is thick and the locks long. Before that it is merely a shadow.” So if you’re wondering why your boyfriend/husband/male counterpart is growing everything out for No Shave November, keep in mind it’s a mini spiritual excursion. He’s tracing his genes to their core, their most primal state. He needs your love and support, as always, and when he wipes the slate clean come December, you’ll have a more mature, more spiritually centered man on your hands.


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Holden Armstrong

Holden Armstrong is the coordinator of Activate Buffalo County, a community health initiative that promotes active living and healthy eating as part of the Buffalo County 2020 Vision. Health resources, local events and activities, plus a lot of other cool stuff can be found at their website: Activate Buffalo County is powered by Buffalo County Community Partners.