Let it grow

Students and staff share their opinions around shaving


Krish Dev

Senior Yash Thapliyal shaves as part of his daily routine. Photo by Krish Dev

Chiran Arumugam and Krish Dev

Growing up in the 80s, U.S. Government teacher Benjamin Recktenwald noticed that most people didn’t have visible facial hair — except for his dad. Wanting to follow his father’s footsteps, and because he was often mistaken for being younger, Recktenwald began experimenting with growing out his facial hair at the end of college.

“During my student teaching, the other staff members of the school thought I was a student,” Recktenwald said. “That’s when I started actually growing a goatee on my chin. I feel like people in my family tend to look young for their age, [so] having a beard makes me feel more my age.”

Currently, Recktenwald shaves every other day on his throat, around the edges of his neck and trims his full beard around once a month. In contrast, senior Samuel Choi shaves clean every two or three days.

When it comes to shaving, Choi says that “it depends on personal preference,” and many styles of facial hair — including, thick beards, mustaches and goatees — look good on certain people.

“It depends on your facial structure and a lot of other factors,” Choi said. “Not all facial hair looks nice on somebody else. There are a lot of determining factors that determine if you look good with facial hair.”

Graphic by Chiran Arumugam

On the other hand, maintaining body hair may have a different routine. Junior Anika Shrivastava shaves her legs twice a week during the field hockey season to accommodate the team uniform: kilts. During the off-season, primarily in the winter, Shrivastava shaves less often. Rather, she chooses to wear sweatpants and jeans to cover her legs. Still, shaving is an essential part of Shrivastava’s routine.

“[Shaving] is really important for me because it gives me a sense of confidence,” Shrivastava said. “It makes me feel more comfortable while wearing shorts or any piece of clothing.”

Shrivastava says whether or not people shave affects others’ perception of them. She states it is wrong for people to do so, and she doesn’t think anyone should judge others based on their body hair. In particular, she believes it is wrong that there can be a stigma around a woman’s choice to shave. 

“I don’t think men should be like, ‘Oh, if a woman has body hair, then I don’t like her,’” Shrivastava said. “I don’t think they should form opinions based on [body hair] alone.”

Shaving or not, Recktenwald believes that no matter what people think, shaving can be a unique way to experiment with developing one’s personal style. Recently, he has tried growing out a full beard, hoping to see how it looks and makes him feel.

“I’ve only been growing my beard for a few years,” Recktenwald said. “But, I think [shaving] is a great idea, the fact that people have all kinds of different ways of expressing themselves.”

Choi echoes Recktenwald’s sentiment that shaving is a personal choice; it is up to each individual to decide whether or not they should shave. 

“If you think you look good without facial hair, go for it,” Choi said. “If you look good with facial hair, just let it grow.”