How to shave a life

How public outcry about my facial hair led me to start a charity drive


Jackson Posey

Senior Jackson Posey pets an alpaca at a local petting zoo exhibition. Posey promised to shave his controversial mustache upon raising $1,000 for hurricane relief.

Jackson Posey, Sports Director

I’m a simple man. I go to church, school and the occasional fast-food restaurant. I don’t go out of my way to inflate my own ego, and I’ve certainly never attacked anyone else for what they grow (or don’t grow) on their upper lip.

I stroke my own mustache, and often – not to be obnoxious, it’s just become a habit. I occasionally post rap videos on my Instagram account, beginning with the makeshift producer tag, ‘stache on point.’ A few people even began calling me ‘Stacheman.’

My facial hair has become part of my personal brand; I love it. My frequent jokes about it seemed benign enough, but those around me seemed to view my facial hair with an intense fury, the heat of which could make the sun shudder.

People hate my mustache.

I’ve engaged in several conversations, both in real life and over text, with people who’ve begged me to let them personally shave my ‘stache. Their frustration was framed as a joke, but as the aphorism goes, “many a true word is said in jest.” 

And all of that anger, which stemmed from their very-apparent repulsion at my lip foliage, culminated one morning in late August when Rebekah Mann, the Ventana’s own Editor-in-Chief, asked me to name my price.

She, like everyone else for the past year and a half, was talking about shaving my mustache.

I lobbed a lofty, obviously-unattainable goal: $1,000. She countered with $40. I said, oh no, this will not do, I would need at least $500. (I still saw that as a pipe dream price.) She requested $300, crowd-funded throughout the coming months and paid at the end of the semester. I offered to compromise at a cool $400.


I felt like I’d hit the jackpot. As much as I loved my mustache, I needed more venture capital to invest into cryptocurrency, for which I possess a concerningly-passionate affinity. But, I reminded myself, there was no way she could actually raise that much. Right?

I discussed the idea with my classmates throughout that day, many of whom offered their own money to join the cause. At that point, my concern began to grow; was I really ready to let go of something that had become the primary focal point of my entire physical identity?

The next morning, Rebekah proclaimed that her father, the lead pastor at a local Methodist church, had offered the full sum – with a catch. All of the money had to be donated to his church’s youth group.

I took a few hours to ponder the offer, weighing my options. I consulted congregants from my own church, who suggested various charities to fundraise for. And after a few days of prayer, Rebekah and I came to the same conclusion: a charity drive for hurricane relief.

Hurricane Ida, the fifth-largest hurricane to ever hit the United States, took a devastating toll on Louisiana. Between the proximity of the affected area and the gravity of the situation, it was an easy cause to settle on. We decided on Samaritan’s Purse as the vehicle, and began the two-week drive on Monday, Sept. 6. If we raised a thousand dollars, the ‘stache would be completely discarded, at least temporarily.

Within a week, the original promo video racked up nearly 700 views on Twitter, and nearly 600 views on Instagram. At time of publication, we’ve raised $831 for supplies, aid and other relief efforts, with more contributions pledged to be on the way.

It’s a strange feeling, knowing that people hate a part of you so much that they’re willing to pay cash to rid themselves of the need to look at it, but it’s strangely fulfilling in the way. The decision to accept (or at least live with) the hate for my ‘stache was a formative one, as it signified my newfound confidence to make my own decisions.

But all good things must come to an end. Fulfillment stems from sacrifice, and sacrifice from the understanding that a larger world exists than the one we’re privy to. There’s heartbreak and joy; dejection and jubilance; fear and love; death and life. A life committed to serving others will see countless stories of the former turning to the latter.

There’s a certain point in life when one must defer his own preferences in deference to the greater good. Sometimes that means walking to a trash can instead of littering. Sometimes it means biting one’s tongue instead of lashing out in anger. And, in this case, that means weaponizing the hate toward my mustache, and turning it towards helping those in need.

I never wanted to shave, much less make the event a highly-public, two-week process. But life necessitates small yesses in pursuit of a larger goal. The United States didn’t land on the moon just by hoping it could happen. They had to take actionable steps and sacrifice.

That’s why I’m shaving my mustache. Not for notoriety’s sake, but so that a greater good might be accomplished. In Matthew 6: 19-21, Jesus exhorts His disciples to store up their treasures in heaven, “for there your heart will be also.” There’s nothing on this earth worth withholding from the prospect of helping others. And that realization, that one must subjugate themselves to God and the pursuit of a greater good, has changed my life.

To donate online, click here or Venmo $CrossBridgeCommunityChurch, with the memo line “Hurricane Ida Relief.” You can also make a check out to CrossBridge Community Church with the memo line “Hurricane Ida Relief,” or give cash to Rebekah Mann or myself.