[Silverbacks are covered with hair, but it doesn’t grow on their faces. Only a primitive species like homo sapiens would do that. SB SM]
Whisker wars are still rising in popularity 150 years after they started – and you don’t actually have to grow any to take part
Wed, 28 June, 2023
Name: Beard competitions.
Age: 150 years. According to the beard expert Dr Alun Withey, adverts for the First Beard and Moustache Show, held in Woolwich, London, were published in 1873.
Are these contests still going on? They are more popular than ever – Aaron Johnston from South Carolina just competed in the World Beard and Moustache Association Championships held in Germany.
How did he fare? He came second in his category with a 27-inch goatee, but he missed his shot at best in show this year.
By a whisker, you might say. Yes, yes, very good.
Who did win best in show? Aaron’s wife, Natali.
I see. It’s a very modern world, isn’t it? Natali finished first in her category, clearing the way for her to earn the title Whiskerinas best in show.
Whiskerinas? That is the name by which female competitors are known in bearding circles.
That sounds a bit sexist. Natali doesn’t actually have a beard.
How did she win, then – bribery? Natali competes in the realistic freestyle category – best crazy fake Beard, basically.
I’m so confused. There are lots of categories: natural full beard over 30cm; natural full beard under 30m; garibaldi; Hungarian Moustache, even Alaskan whaler.
I just can’t understand how a facial hair contest can be won by someone with a false beard. Would it help if I said it was all for charity?
Maybe. Do the fake beards at least have to be made of real hair? Nope. “You can make them from absolutely anything, like cutlery or bacon,” says Natali.
OK. Obviously there are some rules. According to the bylaws of the World Beard and Moustache Association, beards in the ladies/craft category “must hang from face without manual assistance”.
So a beard’s a beard as long as it doesn’t fall off? That’s a great motto.
Perhaps the World Beard and Moustache Association would like to adopt it. They already have one: United in friendship and honour.
Is there much camaraderie in bearding? Absolutely. “We’re supportive of each other no matter what,” says Natali. She claims it’s brought her and Aaron closer as a couple.
Have they been to lots of competitions together? More than 170 since 2015. It all started when Aaron saw a TV programme called Whisker Wars.
And he thought: “My beard could do that”? At the time he didn’t have a beard.
Neither did his wife, come to that. Exactly – it’s all about growth.
Do say: “United in friendship and honour.”
Don’t say: “What happened to all the forks?”