Monday, December 10, 2012

Inaugural Boredyak Winter Beard Challenge

I tend to wear beards. Mostly because I'm lazy and I can. I don't interact with customers and I don't take myself too seriously. Shaving is tedious at best, painful at worst. Instead, I trim it short with a hair clipper. When winter rolls around, I stop that nonsense as well.

Now, the winter beard is a lost art. Beards in general are making a strong comeback, at least among a certain population here in Portland. These are not the winter beards I speak of. These are the meticulously trimmed whiskers of the fashion-conscious. I'm looking for neck beard that sparrows nest in and mustaches that sweep your silverware. Beards that draw comparisons to Grizzly Adams and Rutherford B. Hayes not Gerry Adams and Isaac Hayes.

E-Jack knows how it grows.
With this in mind, I bring you the Boredyak Winter Beard Challenge. The contest is simple: shave your face and send me a 'before' picture (boredyak at gmail dot com). In order for me to know when the picture was taken, you take it with the day's newspaper (or you can use one of the ubiquitous free weekly newspapers, close enough). I will accept 'before' pictures for the month of December. Next step, stop shaving. Don't shave for as long as you can stand it, your significant other can stand it and/or your boss can stand it. Send me an 'after' picture no later than May 1. Judging will happen soon thereafter. Best beard - as judged by my panel, including the master barbers at Rooks Barbershop in Portland - wins. Criteria include fullness, length and resemblance to a real yak. The prize package includes, but is not limited to, gear from Poler, Nike, Salomon, Bonfire, Electric, Superior Threadworks, Yobeat and Rooks Barbershop. I'll also be giving away a 'Nice Try' prize for someone who puts forth a good effort, but comes up hilariously short (or patchy).

Here's the catch... there is no catch. It's the opposite of a catch, it's a release. There's no charity fundraising component. You don't have to raise awareness for any cause. You are prohibited from stressing out. This contest is just for fun and some clothing-centric prizes that may not even fit you. If anyone asks you why you're growing your beard all scraggly like, that's what you tell them. I'm not saying you can't raise money for charity, only that it's not going to affect the judging. Hopefully this means no one will be photoshopping. I'll be dropping some interviews along the way. Maybe some barbers. Maybe a random bearded stranger. Definitely a friend of mine who wrote his master's thesis on the beard as a form of communication. If you want to send in progress photos, I'd encourage that.

Wyatt Stasinos' face disappeared under the beard. Where's the pineapple go?
Now, I can't be held responsible for loss of employment or relationship status. People will probably tell you that you look homeless and you'll have to deal with that. You'll experience face itch that you might not be comfortable with. Then again, you might like everything about your newly bearded self. It may be a journey of discovery and enlightenment for you and even those around you. You'll become closer with your pets. Dogs, cats and chinchillas will think of you as one of them. You might find that you continue growing your beard well past May and on into summer. I encourage that as well and it will win you an additional prize: my respect.

With that said, let the beards begin!

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