I shaved today. My beard (of at least the last two-and-a-half years) is gone.
Why, you ask? Was it a calling? or guilt? or professional pressures of some sort?
No, no, and no. Notwithstanding the near-constant Sturm und Drang that Mormons seem to feel about beards, I don’t believe for a second that anybody outside of BYU actually cares.[fn1] And that argument has been beaten to death, in any event, in the bloggernacle, to no solid conclusion.
As for professional pressures: I’m a professor.[fn2] I can wear a beard.
So why shave? Because it’s Movember. Which is an excuse to grow a mustache. The last time that I remember having a mustache was my senior year at BYU.
Which brings me to why I’m posting this on a Mormon blog: whatever you think about beards (the BYU Honor Code calls them “unacceptable”), mustaches are (apparently) perfectly acceptable in even the strictest Mormon circles.[fn3] Even you BYU students can have them.
So anybody else out there up for a mustache this month?[fn4] The mustache has an odd, acceptable place in Mormon culture and society, but we don’t often embrace it. It’s not an #occupy movement, but it is a perfectly acceptable way to set ourselves apart this month.[fn5] Plus, in December, you can grow your beard back.
[fn1] Note that this assertion is entirely anecdotal, based largely on the number of bearded fellow Saints I had in New York and, even moreso, here in Chicago. In my current ward, as of Sunday, the bearded in my ward included: a member of the bishopric, the EQ president and one of his counselors, a Sunbeam teacher, a nursery teacher, an EQ teacher, a ward clerk, and at least one other. (Clearly, with my having shaved, we’re one down on that list. For now.) Also note that I do know you can’t work in the temple or be a missionary and have a beard.
[fn2] Not that professors are the only professionals who can wear beards. The head of my department at a major law firm in New York had a beard for all six years that I knew him.
[fn3] I don’t, of course, vouch for their acceptability viz-a-viz your significant other, of course.
[fn4] But come on, it’s only a month, and I’m sure she can deal with it for a month.
[fn5] I was going to make a cheesy joke about putting the Mormon back in Movember, but I wisely decided against it.