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John Lamb, Published January 30 2010

Lamb: FeBROary beats winter blahs by a whisker

February is the longest short month there is. True, it’s only 28 days, but those four weeks creep by before giving way to March and the first signs of spring.

The Ukrainians call February “the month of ice or hard frost.” Such cheery people.

The month is so oppressive it’s been peppered with holidays just to give people something to look forward to.

Sure, everyone knows Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day and Feb. 3 is “The Day the Music Died.” The winter Olympics run from Feb.12-28. Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day. Presidents Day is the third Monday in February, and the whole month is Black History Month. And somewhere in there is Mardi Gras, but I can’t remember where I left it. All I know is that it’s right before I am struck with a raging hangover.

February has something for everybody, but the month tends to take a toll on men. Women are more resilient because of their fondness for days devoted to furry animals, having their husband buy them flowers, dinner and chocolate once a year, Presidents Day sales and the return of speed skater Apolo Ohno and other male Olympic athletes in skin-tight clothes they’d love to wrap up in a flag.

For men, football is over, March Madness is really more of a simmering tension and baseball players are just rolling out of bed and scratching themselves for the first time this year.

So what’s a guy to do without pulling his hair out?

Try growing it out.

This year the Hotel Donaldson hosts FeBROary, a celebration of facial follicles. Men and women are encouraged to join teams and grow, flow or style moustaches, beards and sideburns while collecting pledges for the American Cancer Society and helping area men fight prostate cancer.

It’s somewhat similar to what the HoDo hosted in the fall of 2008, Movember, but that was a national campaign that took the money from the area. FeBROary keeps it all here. Also, Movember was too close to Bras on Broadway in October, which raises money to fight breast cancer.

Besides, Movember was only about moustaches and rules required men, or women, to start the month clean shaven.

FeBROary isn’t just for lip warmers and soup strainers. It’s for full beards, trimmed or wild, wispy and mangy. It’s for sideburns, soul patches, chinstraps, Donegals, Van Dykes, mutton chops, friendly mutton chops and the friendliest chops of all, Joe Mauer chops.

And yes, just as Bras on Broadway binds the HoDo in bras of all shapes and sizes, the HoDo will hang men’s drawers from the side of the building.

If you want to donate your boxers or briefs – please, don’t tell me you wear a thong – bring the discarded skivvies to the HoDo with a $5 donation per pair.

The month culminates on Feb. 25 with Bros on Broadway where facial hair will be judged and donations will be collected while revelers listen to live bands and feast on “dude food.”

So let it grow, brother. You’ve got nothing else to do for the next four weeks. And if your wife or girlfriend doesn’t like it, tell her it’s for a good cause, though you might have to buy her something extra nice for Valentine’s Day.

Besides, Apolo Ohno rocks the soul patch.

How to help

To learn more about FeBROary, call Josh Tandberg at the Hotel Donaldson, (701) 799-2277.

Readers can reach Forum columnist John Lamb at (701) 241-5533