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Go Beard or Go Home! The Sri Lankan take on ‘Movember’

Every November we see the world of men taken over by facial hair which resembles a bunch of cavemen before the discovery of blades.  There are two reasons for this. One is ‘Movember’ and the other is ‘No Shave November.’ Bet most of you didn’t know they were two different things. ‘Movember’ is an annual event which focuses on the growing of moustaches with the goal to ‘change the face of men’s health’ thus raising awareness of men’s health issues. ‘No Shave November’ is run by a different organisation that encourages people to donate the money they would otherwise spend on hair grooming to the American Cancer Society.

There are three types of men who celebrate this hairy month;

1) Mo bros,

2) The No Shave November bunch

3) and the Oh! It’s the month we don’t have to shave lot.

Speaking to a few hairy men, we’ve discovered a world of information on their journey to a ‘manlier-man’. Whilst ‘Movember’ deals with growing just the moustache, the rest are growing a facial mane.

Thishan, from the third category, explained his beard by saying ‘when I realised I could grow a pretty rad beard I just threw the razor and shaving products away’. His two month old beard has already met with some negative comments, but this doesn’t bother the bearded man! He is planning on growing it for another 2-3 years. Perhaps he’ll spray it with Mortein to keep the mosquitoes out. Even though he is growing for his own reasons, he’s still spreading the news of men’s health care.

Kanil, on the other hand, is growing his beard because he can. Due to work and university, he had to keep his ‘good boy’ appearance and now after being done with it all, he has unleashed his facial hair. Even though people look at him a bit funny, he’s quite confident that the beard makes him appear older and in return earns a bit more respect.

With many protests from his family, Ryan has been experimenting with his facial hair and his head hair for quite some time. If you ask him why he’s growing it, he’ll rant about Ricki Hall – the overall best looking beard a man who is presenting, and he does spend a bit of time grooming to get the look he wants.

Shafeek also agrees with Kanil about people taking him more seriously with a beard; as he tends to look like a kid with his face fully shaved. He has been growing his beard for the past 6 months, but he trimmed and restarted in honour of ‘No Shave November’. The only comment he has received is from his mother who can’t believe that his son is rocking hairy patches on his face!

The most interesting story I’ve heard so far is from Stefhan. He has been growing his beard for almost six months, and has the most interesting reason for doing so. He started growing his beard to get a better understanding of Dao (Tao) and to unleash the beard’s power for good. As a usually clean shaven man, he has been attracting a lot of attention with his beard. He ‘styles’ it differently every day to get more attention.

Even though a lot of the attention is given to cancer in men, he focuses on sex education. He says handing out a pamphlet with basic biological explanation of sex is not enough in a country such as this. As it’s a taboo topic to be discussing, there isn’t enough information to be found without ridiculing yourself among friends. Any time someone inquires about his facial hair, he uses it as a conversation starter to get more people to donate to http://store.grassrooted.net/ and http://soundmindsoundbody.edu.lk/.

Stefhan has been growing his beard since the 1st of the month and is swimming in a pool of negative, positive and bizarre comments. Some of the people just say ‘cut that beard men’, which is a common response to anyone with a beard. Some have however showed enthusiasm over his many beard styles . Some wanted to burn the beard, which he responds to by asking how they would react if he burn their head hair. *Cricket sounds*

So far he has raised almost Rs.100,00 for the initiative and people have been motivated to donate through his persuasion. However, he was also met with people who insist that sex education given to young children will make ‘all hell break loose’. Stefhan says ‘I’ll deal with them with love, hugs and positive vibes.’

Stefhan’s bearded journey in pictures can be found here.

So… grow your beard, and anytime someone asks you about it, tell them that men have health issues too. Tell them to donate. Tell them to spread the word. Grow your beard with no shame this November and at the end of it see if it is good enough to join the hall of fame of beards alongside Ricki Hall, Chris John Millington, Jimmy Niggles, Jeffery Buoncristiano, Patrik Jonasson and Gwilym Pugh.

Happy no shaving!


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