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Nathan Hansen's column: After a while, it grows on you

November came to an end on Saturday, and as it departed so did a lot of questionable facial hair. That any of it remained is a testament to just how many men are able to convince themselves that they look good with a beard.

It also suggests some people aren’t clear on what, exactly, qualifies as a beard.

In recent years, our nation’s Thanksgivingest month has also become known as Movember, or possible No-Shave November. Or even, “30 days of patchy beards and ill-advised handlebar moustaches.”

This monthlong celebration of razor rejection is in some way I don’t fully understand a fundraiser for causes related to men’s health. For most men who participate, though, I suspect it’s mostly just a socially-acceptable excuse to spend 30 days looking like a 1970s porn star. Which, I don’t know, maybe is a thing people want to do.

Anyway, a month without shaving is a thing people do. Like most things these days, it seems to be sustained mainly by the Internet. In our modern world, if you can tweet about it, it can become a cause.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Internet and its ability to bring me photos of cats with funny captions at any hour of the day or night, but sometimes I have to wonder if it’s really all worth it.

Then again, maybe I’m just jealous. I’ve never participated in Movember, and it’s not because I don’t support men’s health. I’m a man, and all things considered I’d prefer to be healthy.

It’s not because I’m afraid of looking scruffy, either. I’m all for cutting corners with personal grooming.

Mostly, I guess, I don’t participate in Movember because I’m not sure anybody would notice.

We Hansen men are known for facial hair in the same way Miley Cyrus is known for well thought out public appearances.

We’re not known for our upper-body strength either, but that didn’t stop a guy from asking me to spot him on the bench press the other day. It’s probably better for his peace of mind he didn’t realize how much trouble he’d have been in if he’d struggled with the bar.

But that’s not really the point. The point is facial hair. Or the lack thereof.

Here, as I imagine it, is a brief synopsis of how Movember would progress if I chose to participate.

Days 1-4: Nothing, basically.

Day 5: Is that a 5 o’clock shadow? No? OK.

Day 6: There it is.

Days 7-10: Oh, the itching.

Days 11-17: More questions than usual about smudges on my face. I start out telling people it’s a beard but stop when everybody laughs.

Day 18: I begin to feel like a real outdoorsman now. I think I’ll get some flannel shirts. People ask why I keep rubbing my chin.

Days 19-23: I could definitely be a lumberjack. Still no comments. I assume people are intimidated.

Day 24: Splinter!

Days 25-29: I walk around with my chin stuck out, hoping someone will ask me about Movember. Nobody does.

Day 30: I’m pretty much convinced I look good with a beard.

And you know what? I totally would.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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