The vacation beard. It’s safe to say that most men have had one. As you come back home though, reality sets in. You stare at the mirror, razor in hand and ask yourself, “How would I look with a goatee, a mustache, maybe even mutton chops?” Next thing you know, you went from a lumberjack to a clean-shaven, 15-year-old boy. For the men of the Oak City Beard and Mustache Assembly though, they are still on vacation. But don’t let the bushy beards and handlebar mustaches fool you; it’s hard work keeping them tamed, especially when preparing for a competition.
The Oak City Beard and Mustache Assembly is a fairly new club in the area. Initially stemming from a larger Triangle group that simply had too much territory, they decided to make it more localized. Who exactly makes up the local beard community? From hipsters, Harley riders and metal heads to veterans that couldn’t have beards in the army, this group has it all.
As one participant says, “We get together, drink some beer and raise some hell, but at the end of the day, we can raise some money for a local charity.” That’s the best thing about these competitions; they are always for local charities, including The Raleigh Rescue Mission and Wounded Warriors.
Beard competitions are not just for the fellas, women compete too. I know what you’re thinking — it’s some bearded lady freak show — but you’re wrong. Female competitors hand make intricate beards that sometimes take hundreds of hours to complete.
For the men, however, when one decides to take that leap into this hairy world, there are some other things to consider. First, can you take the itch? Sometimes, they say it’s bad you want to put your face to a belt sander. One man adds, “There will also be those awkward stages of growth too, where it’s going to look bad, and you have to decide if you want to keep it nice and neat or just let it go.”
You also have to deal with everyone who wants to touch or tug the beard or ‘stache. Is there a tug or no tug rule? As one person put it, “I don’t care if people come up and ask questions, I’m all for that. I’ve had people come up to me and pull on my beard and it’s not cool.”.
Then comes the styling and grooming. One man’s advice, “Just try to keep it all natural. I use a bar of soap to wash it. Some people use special shampoos. Then there are the beard oils, beard balms and the beard butters. They’re great, and I use them every day, sometimes twice a day. Then some people don’t use anything and their beards look amazing.” You may even need to get out the old blowdryer. Sometimes it just comes down to genetics. Some guys have that caveman gene that allows them to grow a stylish beard at will.
So if you aren’t willing to take on the follies of dealing with facial hair, never fear. You don’t even need facial hair to be a member. They are always looking for people to help out with promotions, events and other duties. All are welcomed at the Oak City Beard and Mustache Assembly, full bearded or folically challenged.