Lots of people talk about giving something up for Lent, a common practice. And it seems like in recent years a lot of people are giving voice to the idea of adding something, either in place of or in addition to giving something up.
I’ve tried both methods over the years, sometimes trying to do one of each in some years. But this year I went for something a little different.
I should note, before I go on, that this might seem like a lazy Lenten practice. It kind of is.
I stopped shaving on Fat Tuesday, never to shave again until after Easter. It’s kind of like Januahairy, or No-Shave-November, or Februhairy, or Decemustache… are there other months that lend themselves to hair references?
Anyway, I stopped shaving. Yes, it is kind of an easy Lenten practice. But consider the following issues:
1) If you have ever grown a beard you know that you go through the itchy stage. That happens for me (maybe for others, too?) after about two weeks and lasts for 4 or 5 days. It isn’t pleasant and is made worse if I interact with dogs or cats as I have minor allergies that develop beyond major (maybe PhD level?) when I’m in the itchy beard phase.
2) You have to deal with it. There comes a time in the life of every beard, if you let it live long enough, that you have to just kind of deal with it. It gets unruly. It takes on a personality. And although I have no scientific proof for this, I think some parts of a beard grow faster than other parts. Maybe some areas work better as a team than others.
3) Despite intentions not to deal with it at all (the lazy part of the challenge) you actually have to do some managing. Some parts of that lower neck just get gross. I bet some would say the beard as a whole is gross. But you know what I mean.
4) People I interact with are clearly befuddled by the sudden and surly beard I have, but are clearly too polite to say anything. It’s kind of like when someone carries an ironic mustache (or maybe…?) which really means you are willing to suffer the looks of others when you aren’t surrounded by friends or hipsters. (Side note, I had a typo there and typed “iron mustache” which would be a whole other level of awesome.)
At any rate, from the perspective of choosing a Lenten practice that you will encounter on a daily basis, it isn’t a bad way to go. The closer we get to Easter, the less I can ignore it.