So today I had my doctor's appointment for a beard card here at BYU. Actually, to be quite honest, I had been breaking the honor code guidelines on facial hair for years, because I knew that if I shaved every day like I was supposed to my face would break out and get irritated. So for the last 2 years since I've been home from my mission I've been dodging the rules by shaving just enough to get away with it.
Well last Monday, I had had enough. Why? Because my usual strategy was to try one of two offices at the RB (the building where the pool is) for my pass to use the facilities and if one didn't take me, try the other one. Well this time the guy behind the counter swiped my card BEFORE telling me I wasn't shaven. For those of you who don't know, they'll only swipe your card once for the pass, they'll think something is up if you come in again for the pass and they see you've already been swiped for it, so he pretty much trapped me.
Well after he told me I wasn't shaved well enough, he gave me a razor and some shaving cream. I knew there was going to be problems, not only because my face wasn't quite ready to be shaved again, but the razor that he gave me was low-quality. Well I used it. My face was covered in blood. The so sick it's kind of funny part? He had the nerve to tell me "thank you for doing that" while giving me the pass, with my face covered in blood.
I'm just sitting there thinking, if you gave me another day, I would have been shaven, there's a reason I don't have a full-out beard. Not only that, but this rule was put into the BYU honor code due to the counter-culture (hippie) movement. The beard was one of its symbols. BYU didn't want to be associated with those elements so instead of just including Gospel standards in the honor code, they also added elements that were in direct opposition to the counter-culture movement during the 1960s. The reason for this is clear. By implementing those rules into the honor code, BYU was preserving itself from becoming a breeding ground for that movement.
The irony? There are still hippies, but they are few in number now. The world still has values similar to what it adopted around when the honor code was implemented, but the beard isn't what's associated with low morals any more. In fact, someone who has a well-trimmed beard is probably keeping the spirit of the dress and grooming standards of BYU better than some of the Math majors in the Talmage building that seem to have issues with showering...
I'm not mad, I mean seriously, I guess I wasn't keeping my word, and now I will be, because from what I understand I passed my appointment today. I should have done this sooner, just for honesty's sake.
But what irks me is the following:
1) The rule is clearly outdated. Moustaches are allowed now and beards aren't. The reason is many people I know associate moustaches with pedophiles (thank you Peewee Herman...)
2) If you look hard enough, it's also a form of discrimination. Not every guy can even grow facial hair, so it's unfair to those who can to be forced to shave most of it off. I agree that we should keep a well-groomed appearance, but it does seem to ask more of people who can grow facial hair than those who can't.
3) The rules about facial hair have never been reviewed since their implementation. I mean these rules are a little old now, shouldn't we take anachronisms like this out? And seriously, if we're going to ban any kind of facial hair, it should be moustaches. Seriously.
I hope no one gets the wrong idea when reading this post. There are plenty of great people at BYU. Most of the people who gave me passes the last two years would only complain if my facial hair got really out of control, this last semester has just been a bit worse than normal. But I really wish someone would take the time to review the honor code and rewrite it to reflect what was meant and not the cultural issues of the 1960s.