Of facial hair and flights of fancy

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about facial hair. Not really for myself, but more because Jeff has decided to grow out an imperialist mustache, sort of like this one:

Of course, until he really gets a big handlebar mustache, he has to keep a beard, or he will look like a child molester (see: molestache). After that, he has promised to shave the beard and keep the mustache.

Being the girlfriend of someone with a lot of unruly facial hair can sometimes be a nuisance. Also, the face I fell in love with was hairless and lovely, and I miss it. So, I decided to google the phrase “why facial hair is awesome” to cheer myself up.

Naturally, I came across a website devoted to the World Beard and Moustache Championships. Before we get into the really hairy parts of this genre, let me just show you the USA Beard Team logo:

AMAZING, right?

Anyway, every year a bunch of crazy guys get together and show off their ridiculous beards and mustaches.

Here is a snippet from their website:

The United States is the world’s new facial hair super power, having captured twelve world championship titles out of eighteen categories plus overall at the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Anchorage, Alaska on May 23, 2009. Possessing home field advantage, the USA was able to dethrone Germany which had dominated this competition since its inception.

Hometown favorite and Beard Team USA member David Traver was crowned overall champ, having styled his beard to resemble an Alaska snowshoe which earned him top honors in the freestle full beard category. Meanwhile Germany’s Karl-Heinz Hille’s elaborate moustache earned him second. San Franciscan Jack Passion placed third with his long, red natural beard. The winners took home engraved gold pans.

To me, the ability to grow a large or unique beard isn’t so impressive. In fact, it reminds me of Meg’s power in the Family Guy episode in which the Griffins all get super powers. So now I’m a little curious — what makes these titans of mustache-growing tick?

I suppose one advantage is the $5,000 prize at the championships. Plus, it’s free to join the USA Beard Team, so that’s pretty prestigious. It’s practically the Olympics!

Membership is Beard Team USA is open to everyone.  There are no dues, no applications, and no acceptance process. You don’t even need to have a beard or moustache to join. In fact, there are no known disadvantages to membership.

And, when you think about it, outrageous beards and mustaches have a long and rich history:

President Taft sports a modest yet robust handle-bar mustache.

President Martin Van Buren goes whole-hog with the mutton chops.

Acclaimed director John Waters sports a thin mustache, bordering on molestache.

Artist Salvador Dali shows off his meticulously groomed imperialist mustache.

Insanely hot Hugh Jackman remains hot (gets even hotter?) as wolverine with mutton chops.

If you go to the National Beard Registry, you can learn more.

Many famous and well-known men wore full beards. How did it happen? What does the term ‘clean-shaven’ really mean? Are full beards ‘dirty’? Are we ashamed of our beards? These great men were not ashamed.

All beards are beautiful and worthy of registration. But the majestic and magnificent full and aged beard is the ultimate quest of The National Beard Registry. Like a fingerprint, a year or more of full growth on a man’s face produces a one-of-a-kind appearance that defies trend, pop culture, and media driven conformity. It is a very natural and beautiful symbol of individualism, and honors the self-expressed essence within each man.

I have to say, these mustache enthusiasts make some good points. I hate to admit it, but I’m excited to see how far Jeff decides to take this new facial venture of his.

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