To Shave or Not To Shave?

Evelyn Levine

Backpage . Body Hair Do's & Don'ts
Illustration by Tyle Schuh

Right about this time of year, Whitman students are getting into the shower (occasionally), looking in the bathroom mirror and thinking, “Should I shave now?”
It’s a difficult question to answer.
Yes, it is still much too warm for that uncomfortable lumberjack mustache and beard combo you cultivated this summer in the forest doing research on endangered wolves, or on a boat pursuing a dream career of Alaskan fishing. Or perhaps you got empowered after you grew out your leg hair for your Birthright trip to Israel (because then it wouldn’t sting at all in the Dead Sea). The bottom line is that summer is over. While fall has yet to bring in real cool chills of wind, the warm air of September is fleeting. Still don’t know what to do?
First off, ask yourself if you’re preparing for winter or trying to drag out summer. If you are trying to stretch out summer, shave.
If you are not trying to achieve an endless summer by keeping your body hair, the following article is for you.
Beards are good for looking burly, getting an image and keeping warm. If you are unsure about your beard, ask yourself if you need any of these things. If your nickname is “Beard Pete,” then perhaps shaving the beard will ruin your reputation, but it could also be the birth of “Beardless Pete” or even just “Pete.” Do you have a cold chin and face? Do you like storing food in your beard or making jokes about it? If you are frequently compared to Jesus and/or a homeless person, decide if you like that image. If your beard has a name and talks back to you or you play with it excessively and put beads in it, shave it off. Beards should never talk back.
Mustaches are an all-season facial hair, but they are hit or miss. If your mustache is a John Waters pencil, erase it. If you got a Handlebar mustache to try out popular hipster culture, shave it off unless it really works for your face. Ask your friends and acquaintances because sometimes friends let friends have bad staches. If you have purchased special wax for your mustache and have a comb, keep it around. It seems to give you something to do with your extra time. However, if you look like a stubbly eighth grader who has not been introduced to a razor, kill the stache. Finally, if parents shy away from you on the street when you smile or wave at their kids, kill the stache. The Pio does not support Pedo-staches.
Chops look like laziness incarnate on most people. They make many look fatter, or more animal-like. However, if you are going for a Beatles look and it works, keep ’em.
Soul Patches are a tricky, tricky thing. Soul Patches beg to be shaved. They look like a missed spot. They are compared to caterpillars and called chin pubes and people openly debate how much soul the wearer has. Shave it now, or proceed with extreme caution.
Hello, all you hairy-legged or arm-pitted femme-fatales. This is another voice telling you to do what you want to do. But also, there are good and bad reasons not to shave. Expressing inequality of expectations of men and women is among the good reasons. A bad reason not to shave is just to make your “conservative” family uncomfortable. Your hairy legs will not get them to support Obamacare or green space. Shave if you like the way it looks, shave if you miss the feeling of your legs in bedsheets, shave if you find it fun. And if you just DGAF, go you!