Columns, Opinion

FONTANA: No Shame November

November is truly a beautiful month, is it not? Squished between October and December, it embodies the best of both worlds: falling leaves and snow, warmth and cold, not just fall and winter, but finter, if you will. November is a magical month filled with changing weather, many “thanks” and, of course, mustaches.

You’ve all heard of “Movember,” right? That one month during the year when men are finally released from the shackles of society, run by women, and allowed to fully celebrate what it truly means to be a man, what defines our “y” chromosome, what I’m sure every woman enviously writes about in her diary: body hair.

As a man, I am a full proponent of this No-Shave movement. But what many young women and men forget are the true roots of this NOSHemeber. I’m talking about that first Thanksgiving, of course, all those years ago, back in 1621 in our very own Plymouth.

Everyone knows the story of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag: Squanto, maize, Puritans and their awkward buckled shoes. The wonderful feast the two groups had and the lifelong friendships they all formed. The Pilgrims and Wampanoag, alike, went around the table and each gave their “thanks.” But when it got down to the last person, Little Billy, something strange occurred. Stroking his mustache, an odd sight on a 7-year-old Puritan boy, he profoundly said, “I’d like to give thanks to the Indians, who were more than happy to help us mustached foreigners acclimate to their strange land.” The chief of the Wampanoag was greatly moved by this little boy’s touching words. He turned to Billy and said, “No little one, it is we who are thankful for you all. As you walk around with your funny garb and large hairy faces with pride, you have taught us to live without shame.”  The Wampanoag and Puritans all gave little Billy three cheers and yelled with joy. After throwing him in the air, they carried him on their shoulders all the way to the nearest IHOP to celebrate over pie. Thus began two great historical events: the eternal debate over what pie should be served at Thanksgiving (pumpkin, duh) and No Shame Day.

However, after all these years, the passionate words of Billy and the chief were lost to our country. It was only on a pilgrimage to a far, far away land, known to some as Ethpanya (Ow), that this hidden treasure, this long lost tradition was found.  We suddenly realized that our normal customs were strange in this ancient country. Yet, in our moment of despair, one among our group had a dream of a large-mustached man who shared with her a story. The story was of friendship between cultures, a bond that reached beyond the wall of differences, of oddities and of shame.  Upon waking, we learned of the dream and were taken by the moving message, the true meaning of what it means to be an American — to act without shame.

We knew that this day of “No Shame” had an important message that needed to be spread to the four corners of the earth. So, we gave it a whole month. “November sounds good.” And thus, No Shave November was born!

I think a day in America’s history that still stands as a monument to Billy and the Chief, is none other than (sound the trumpets, please) Black Friday — that day when our animal instincts rise to the surface and stores across our great nation, become an all-out brawl. I’m not talking about the tame “Wild Wild West” with the pampered Prince of Bel-Air. I’m talking about a World War II documentary-style free-for-all. And all over the last cover for the iPhone314. Shameless? I think so.

Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t still things that are worth being shamed over. Every country, society and city has its own truly atrocious deeds. But, for the rest of us, November has become a time when we can own up to our guilty pleasures, the silly things we do in life that for some reason we’ve decided are wrong, embarrassing and inaccurately shameful.

So, if you want to eat three plates at Thanksgiving dinner before your two plates of pie, then go ahead and unbuckle your pants and shoes with a smile on your face. Or, if you feel like paying $50 to buy a remaining box of Hostess treats, all so you can encrust one of the last Twinkies of the world in gold, well, call yourself Midas and get on with your bad self. And if you feel like wearing a winter jacket that finds it’s necessary to say “Sean John” 13 times on it, just in case you’d forgotten, well you might want to rethink your priorities in life. But, you can go ahead and save that for a more shameful month, like December.

We must never allow the memory of Billy’s heroic deed to die. NOSHember will forever be remembered as a month with no shaving, and more importantly with no shame.

Happy No Shame November to you all.


David Fontana is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and a Fall 2012 columnist for The Daily Free Press. He can be reached at [email protected].

One Comment

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