A Hairy Tradition: The Past of No Shave November


Mr. Moundros, Mr. Zainea, Mr. Rodriguez, and Mr. Finger on a previous Dec. 1st following No Shave November

Many people have heard of No Shave November (NSN) and have seen spectacular beards, mustaches, and everything in between during the month, but what actually is NSN?

The official website, no-shave.org, defines No Shave November as a “month-long journey during which participants forgo shaving and grooming in order to evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness.” This global challenge took root at Chelsea among teachers and became somewhat of a tradition for a couple of years.

“Mr. Murphy, a previous guidance counselor at CHS, organized a group of teachers that would do No Shave November together,” previous NSN participant and CHS English teacher John Zainea said. “We also did the fundraising aspect to raise money for men’s health causes.”

Anyone participating could sign up on a website and then share out their participation in NSN on social media or other platforms to get others to support the cause. One suggestion the website gives is for the participant to donate their monthly hair care expenses.

In a similar vein to NSN, “Movember” is another challenge people can choose to undertake to support men’s mental and physical health. Instead of just not shaving like NSN, Movember asks participants to rock a mustache during November.

Zainea and a group of other strong beard supporters grew out their facial hair together, then at the end of the month, shaved it completely off or into interesting patterns.

“The end was always my favorite part of the process,” Zainea said. “I would shave my beard down to something interesting like Fu Manchu or a goatee to elicit a bit of a rise out of people and surprise them.”

On top of the charity aspect of the challenge, it was just a fun way for teachers to build connections and relax.

“There was a feeling of comradery with the other teachers,” Zainea said. “It was also nice to not have to spend time shaving and to let things go a little bit.”

Sadly, over time, the group drifted apart and the tradition of participating as a group was lost.

“It wasn’t anything intentional,” Zainea said. “The organizer went to another school and the group just naturally stopped.”

Perhaps in the future, this tradition will be revived, but it remains dormant for the moment.  

“I think I will participate again in the future when I’m feeling like it’s important to bring on a strong beard game again,” Zainea said. 

No Shave November is not just for teachers, students and staff can also participate in NSN and help raise awareness for men’s health.

“I encourage all able-bodied males to do their best to contribute to the cause of No Shave November,” Zainea said. “I would love to see the people in our student body who could rock beards or mustaches participating.”