For 11 months of every year, we all live our lives integrated– embedded, if you will– with our fellow citizens, hewing to their customs; blending in. For 11 months of the year we rarely even speak of the movement. But not this month.
It’s time for NSID operatives to go live.
First, remember our history. In 2007 I first spoke publicly of the cause, and in 2008 our numbers exploded. No Shaving In December has participants on at least 4 continents, participants of both sexes, and participants of all ages and stations in life. In fact, a recent survey I just made up confirms that every LinkedIn user is, at most, 3 hops away from an NSID participant.
Second, remember our cause. NSID’s not a political movement. It’s a silly, awesome getting-together of people who sort of like to see how they look when they stop shaving for a month. It’s permission to try something different and in that sense, our cause is freedom. Look at the flickr pool; it’s incredible. I love looking at these people I know to be cleanshaven getting all rustic and funky. How could you not want to be a part of this?
Third, remember your strength. Your job too important or high-visibility to stop shaving for a month? Bullshit – John Lilly did interviews with the LA Times mid-NSID like a champ. Your face doesn’t grow a proper beard? Hogwash – Claire‘s been doing NSID 3 years running, and Gavin soldiers through “patchiness issues” because his follicles don’t tell him how to live his life, he tells them how to live theirs.
No shaving. 31 days. We tweet using the #nsid hashtag, we document our progress in the flickr pool, and we aggregate it on noshavingindecember.org. I’m proud of all of you – I love this time of year. Are you in?
Epilogue: The Charity Angle
[Everything below is optional. NSID is about freedom, and fun, and if you don't want to be bogged down by deeper sentiment there is no need to do any of this. For some people, this part may actually make it easier to enjoy NSID, though. If that's you, read on.]
NSID is a scruffy, scratchy time in the first few weeks, and that can be hard on pair-bonds. Over the years, the #1 NSID request I’ve gotten is to find a way to make NSID participation a charitable act, to make the suffering of our significant others more noble.
Choosing a charity to pair with NSID isn’t easy, but I think the Michael J Fox Foundation is a good fit. To me, Parkinson’s disease is insidious for the way it steals your independence by stealing your ability to perform simple tasks. Shaving, holding a razor to your face, is something I have the luxury of doing or not doing basically for fun; I like the idea that NSID could help a research foundation trying to cure people of a disease that takes that away. MJFF’s open approach, using ~90% of donations to directly fund Parkinson’s researchers, seems like a solid one to me and, I’ll be honest, it doesn’t hurt either that they will cut both US and Canadian tax receipts.
So here’s how it works. If you want in on this aspect, start your NSID participation with a donation (US/CDN). When conversations come up about the scruff, tell them you’re doing it for charity, get those people to donate, too. And if, at some point, your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/cat can’t take it any more and insists that you shave, the price of that shave is a matching donation. The more your friends donate to defend your cause, the bigger the matching donation will have to be. And in the worst case, you make it through the month, and MJFF still gets a donation or two they might not otherwise have had. Make sense?
The only catch in all this is that I don’t have a centralized way to track MJFF donations. Let’s use the comments area on this post for that, shall we?