Reclaiming the Beard from the Skinny Jeans Brigade

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All of the above are some of the manliest characters in history. Defying society in one way or another, each of these men sport one thing in common: the mighty beard.  Having lived in the shadow of its upstairs neighbour, the mustache, for some time, the beard is having its time in the spotlight. 2014 is truly the Year of the Beard.

But don’t shout your “huzzah”s quite yet, not-so-gentlemen. We mountain folk have a history with facial hair. Beards keep us warm in the backcountry, by taming the Arctic winds, or by creating that shell of snow around our necks once the snow gets steep and deep – a testament to the epic outdoor time being had by all.  They can be used to enhance the jawline so as to both secure a mate, and can intimidate would-be suitors and hungry winter wildlife alike. As ski bums, we’ve been rejected by “the normal people” in our quest for the perfect line, and so we’re within the outlaw boundaries to grow our follicular talents well into glorious symbols of testosterone.

Yet, thanks to fashion, we’ve been lumped in with the “undesirables”. What do I mean by that? Well, you’ll never see a lumberjack sipping on a chai latte, get me?  The sad fact is, they’re “in”, and anyone hoping to get that sweet snow beard action better be prepared to shoot down hipster status. You can tell that they’re the Item to Own based on the number of faux beards out there for women and children.

Nice try, baby. Go back to being adorable.
Nice try, baby. Go back to being adorable.

I for one will not stand by and watch the feminization of one of man’s few true manly assets. There’s even a man-purse load of beard styling products on the market! Frankly, the only oil in a man’s beard should be the grease dripping down his chin as he chows down on some red meat.  I propose a test of mettle to separate the wheat from the chaff.

The following is a list of ways to earn your beard – think of it as a practical man card application.

NOTE: The beard being grown on the candidate in question must be full and, for the most part, un-coiffed. There’s no shame in keeping a beard on the right side of “unkempt”, but using lavender oil is just unacceptable.

– Candidate should be able to start a chainsaw in 3 tries or less.

– Candidate must know 3+ types (not brands) of whiskey, and drink one without making a face. (This shot shall be neat. This isn’t high school.)

– Candidate must demonstrate the knowledge required to fix a toilet.

– Candidate must start a controlled fire without the use of accelerants such as gasoline. (A starter such as matches or a lighter is permissible.)

– Candidate must be able to explain the offside rule in any sport of his choice (props such as salt and pepper shakers are permitted).

– Candidate should be able to operate manual transmission. (Add one bonus point if the vehicle used is a tractor.)

– Candidate must be able to tend to 2 of the following: change a flat tire, change the oil, jumpstart the battery.

– Candidate must be able to buy a second round for the gang without bitching that it’s totally Barry’s turn. No one likes Barry, and this will become apparent soon enough when he’s no longer invited out.

– Candidate must enjoy getting greasy, sweaty, grimy, and generally unclean (or at the absolute minimum, have no problem with it.)

– Candidate will eat whatever is damn well on the plate put in front of him. Barring any life threatening allergies, although this panel will certainly look favourably upon putting one’s life in one’s hands in order to grow a beard.

There you have it. It’s as simple as scoring 8 points, where each skill set is one point unless otherwise specified. For the rest of you, might I recommend clicking this link, and don’t forget to keep that face warm.

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