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The game of beards

Rock a beard for a cause this November

Rock a beard for a cause this November  

This No-Shave November, grow those beards, spread awareness and take inspiration the iconic beards that have shaped the world’s pop culture

Since the advent of the human civilisation, mankind has evolved over thousands of years, but the one iconic feature in the human body that has remained a constant is the beard. The macho symbol of manly maturity, facial hair has been the heartthrob for women and the sign of wisdom for ages. Even throughout history, bearded men have stood out; from pioneering revolutions, like Moses from The Bible, Che Guevara, Abraham Lincoln and Ayatollah Ruhollah, to changing the face of human progress, development and culture, like Karl Marx, Socrates, Leonardo Da Vinci and Charles Darwin. Our very own legendary actors – Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth – are also members of this club.

Which brings us to the November, which is celebrated across the globe as No-Shave November, or ‘Movember’. With the aim to spread awareness on embracing our hair, which cancer patients lose, and donating the money we typically spend on shaving and grooming to unite against cancer and expressing solidarity towards those fighting the battle, No-Shave November is the time to let it grow wild and free.

MetroPlus’ bearded men join the campaign and talk to fellow beards and outline iconic beards that have shaped the world’s pop culture.

Vishal Singh, the founder of the Bangalore Beard Club points out that this year, the month has taken off with a good start. “Awareness has gone up and even the avenues for grooming for men have gone up this year. We have a lot of men taking part, getting active socially and spreading awareness. This month has definitely kicked off well.”

Outlining his opinion of Movember’s purpose for the uninspired, Vishal says the reason behind no-Shave November is to show support to people suffering from cancer and coming out of it. “Because when you go through chemotherapy, you lose all the hair on your body. In this way, we’re extending our support and telling them don’t lose hope, we are here for you. This is also a chance to raise money for cancer. Since charity begins at home, the money we usually spend for a shave, if we save and donate, it may seem small, but it will make a difference.”

Also Bengaluru’s climate is ideal for beards, he points out. “Considering the extreme cold, heat or rain in other cities in India right now, from Delhi to Mumbai, Bengaluru is moderate. So it provides the best grooming ground for beards to grow.”

To clean-shaven guys and those with moustaches, Vishal appeals them to give it a try. “This is the ideal time to give it a shot since you have the entire world taking part. At the same time, you’ll discover how facial hair grows on your face and which look suits you. Who knows, you may be inspired to continue sporting a beard after that and give a complete new look to yourself. Look up a face structure that matches yours and give it a try.”

For those with beards, here’s what you can do – “Maintenance is most important. Nourish your beard with good oil, twice a day, getting deep to the skin. A good conditioner and a beard wash will soften your beard and give you smoother skin.”

While there are currently 12 people in the club, Vishal says they plan to expand. “Every person with a beard is a prospective member. But only a few are chosen. I choose them carefully. It’s not about the beard; it’s about the brain behind the beard.”

Meanwhile, beard enthusiast and musician Lokesh Bob says this is the time for men with beards to take the spotlight. “Even corporate offices, who are normally strict on attire and grooming, allow their employees to sport beards. It’s the happening month for men with beards.” However, he quips that this is also an excuse for men who are lazy to shave to pretend to be socially-conscious.

He adds: “Some may think how men not shaving will make a difference? There are a lot of things that act as causes. So why not beards? Unfortunately, on the flipside, the only sufferers are the ones in the saloons – the barbers. It may be a significant loss for them.”

Lokesh also points out that No-Shave November is actually a niche activity. “One is you need to be a man. So that already excludes the other gender. On top of that, they need to be mature, since boys can’t grow beards. So that age group is out of the picture as well. Maybe, in the future, we can work out a way to make this observance inclusive for everyone.”

And so we sign off with a set of memes from the Internet: ‘When in doubt, grow a beard.” Or as a popular reference to an actor who finally won an Oscar this year goes: ‘Grow a beard, win an Oscar’

What is up with November and facial hair?

We've all noticed the outbreak of facial hair on the cheeks of men during the month of November these past few years. Yet many remain unaware that it's more than a cool fashion trend that protects the face from winter chill.

The idea is to spread awareness about health issues specific to men, such as prostate and testicular cancer. It began with a group of guys in a pub in Australia who came up with the idea of growing their moustaches for charity and awareness. The terms 'moustache' and 'November' soon fused together to become Movember, with the Movember Foundation being founded in 2003 in Melbourne.

But if moustache-growing is the primary activity, have we been doing it wrong all these years by growing beards too? Not quite.

The idea of letting all the facial hair grow untamed comes from No Shave November, a campaign started by the Hill family in Chicago after the patriarch Matthew Hill passed away from colon cancer in 2007. By 2009, they set up No Shave November as a non-profit dedicated to cancer awareness and fundraising, expanding upon the concept of Movember. The idea here is to put away the razors and brushes for an entire month, and donate the money thus saved to charity.

Now that you have added cause to grow a fabulous beard, get to work.

For more info, visit https://www.movember.com/ and https://no-shave.org/.

Iconic beards to draw inspiration from

Albus Dumbledore

This one was a toss up between the wise headmaster of Hogwarts and his Lord of the Rings equivalent, Gandalf the Grey. Both have long, flowing white beards that radiate a sense of wisdom and eccentricity. However, Dumbledore's inventive way of managing his by tucking it into his belt is a twist that is hard to ignore.

Khal Drogo

So your beard is coming along nicely but unlikely to reach wizard length? Might as well whip out them rubber bands (or a classier styling accessory you have at your disposal) and go full Dothraki. Brooding looks and limited vocabulary are an added bonus. We'd recommend you keep your shirt on however.

Abraham Lincoln

Forget the moustache and work with a nice thick beard to give off an aura of authority and honesty. If you have a top hat lying around, now would be a good time to dust it off and take it for a spin. Do some research on axe quotations for added effect.

Kabali

Have some grey in your beard that has been hidden away from the public? Now is the time to give your facial hair a month in the sun. Perfect length for a solid month's growth, this relatively low-maintenance option comes with the added advantage of looking totally boss.

King Leonidas

Relatively straightforward, Gerard Butler's look from the cult classic 300 is right up there in the Hall of Fame for beards. Does require a bit of trimming and maintenance, but the final result is sure to draw attention, giving you the perfect opportunity to spread the Movember message, and occasionally remind people about Sparta.

Again, leave that shirt on.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 9:36:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/The-game-of-beards/article16440950.ece

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