Every year, people employed by companies with creatively oppressive policies eagerly await the start of November, a time of year when traditionally clean-shaven individuals use excuses like "charity" and "awareness" to justify a month-long facial hair experiment.
I specified "Movember" in the title because the rhyme sounded nice, but I'm also going to use this article to address No-Shave November, which tends to be more popular with people who recognize shaving as the thankless chore that it is.
The guidelines for each should be pretty fairly self-explanatory: one involves growing a mustache while the other involves your family members concernedly asking if you're having any issues in your personal life during Thanksgiving dinner.
As we reach the point in the month when the active participants begin to differentiate themselves from people who just forgot to shave for a few days, there are a few important notes to keep in mind over the next couple of weeks.
It's not 1874 anymore.
The decision to take the pledge is only the first step on a long and incredible journey.
Saying you're growing "a mustache" or "beard" is like telling people you're dating "a member" of the Kardashian family -- there are a lot of types with their own unique qualities, and a lot are objectively terrible and should be avoided at all cost.
Before the inventions of the television and radio, men spent the majority of their free time growing and grooming their facial hair in a variety of ridiculous styles to entertain themselves (drinking heavily helped up the amusement factor).
You may feel the urge to sport a handlebar mustache, mutton chops or a goatee that makes you look like a dastardly French cardinal, but you should do everything in your power to suppress it.
If you'd expect to find it on the face of a bartender at a place rated "Best Speakeasy" by any hip mixology blog or men's magazine, you shouldn't have it on yours.
Hygiene still applies.
The nice part about not having to shave (or at least cutting back a bit) is it can save valuable minutes of your morning routine you can use to hit the snooze button.
However, just because you've started to look like the homeless Keanu Reeves doesn't mean you have to adapt the hygiene habits you'd expect him to have. To paraphrase Uncle Ben (the "Spiderman" character, not the rice guy): With facial hair comes great responsibility.
The fact the hair is on the bottom of your head instead of the top doesn't negate the fact it's still hair. It can still smell, get greasy and be used against you as forensic evidence in a murder trial. You can control two of those things.
Facial hair also presents problems some people have never dealt with before, like licking their upper lip and getting a taste of the meal they finished three hours prior. Always be conscious of face Velcro.
No-Shave November might still involve some shaving.
On the surface, No-Shave November seems very straight-forward: There's a month, and you don't shave during it. That's pretty hard to screw up.
Unfortunately, life isn't black and white. If it was, we'd be living in the movie "Pleasantville."
Some people (John Hamm) are genetically blessed with the ability to grow a perfectly uniform beard with breathtaking French connections and a luscious sheen both men and women are unable to resist.
Other people end up with an arrangement that can only be described as "pubic hairs blown onto a face covered in honey."
It may eventually turn into a passable beard, but there's going to be a transitional period when people are going to assume you've been charged with a few specific felonies.
This may come off as sacrilegious, but if you look into the mirror and see the facial hair you'd expect to find on an oil rig worker whose parents were cousins, you're allowed to clean things up a bit.
Facial hair isn't for everyone.
Beards aren't for everyone, and even though mustaches might theoretically take less effort to cultivate, that doesn't mean they're foolproof.
Maybe you started off November shooting for "Sam Eliot in 'Road House'" and only managed to achieve "Kip from 'Napoleon Dynamite' and the subject of several police complaints" by the end of it.
At a certain point, it's time to accept there might be different ways to show your support for an honorable cause that don't make you look like a middle school student who's still figuring out puberty.
Contrary to what the entire Internet might have you believe, you're not less of a man for not being able to sprout the kind of facial hair Instagram goes crazy for. You're not a failure -- your follicles are.
You might never be able to stick flowers in your beard, but you're really not missing much.