I'm a journalist turned freelance writer who stays home with her Wonder Child and Infant Incredible. I like pretty shoes, animals and the ocean. Also, I probably watch a little bit too much reality TV, which I write about for www.realitynation.com.
Last weekend, we were aimlessly surfing the TV channel guide and discovered a show title so intriguing we had to check it out. And within five minutes of tuning into Whisker Wars –a reality series that follows bearded and mustachioed men across the country as the compete in facial hair competitions — we were hooked.
Oh sure, it sounds kinda, um, hairy. But it’s chock full of good stuff, and we got to learn more about a subculture that we didn’t even know existed during one half hour than we ever thought possible. Not to mention that it’s crazy to hear words come out of a guy’s face when you can’t even see his mouth moving. Or his mouth, for that matter.
Here are five reasons Whisker Wars is now part of our must-see TV list.
1. Bearding is a sport. According to the show open, “Bearding is a sport. A sport of growing, grooming and presenting one’s facial hair.” First, we love that avoiding shaving is not only considered an activity, but a competitive athletic endeavor. Because that’s basically what “sport” implies, right? For those who participate, it is Very Serious Business.
2. Facial hair is a gift from the heavens above. These men feel about their beards the same way many feel about their cars or landscaping skills. Says Jack Passion of his ginormous crimson beard: “It’s beautiful. It’s like gold pouring out of my face. … I’m a beardsman — the best there ever was.”
3. Romance and beard coaches. We’re not yet sure what, exactly, a beard coach does. But we do know that Whisker Warrior Myk O’Connor is marrying his. “As ridiculous as it sounds to propose to someone at a beard competition,” he said, “I just couldn’t think of any other way.” Be still my heart.
4. There are people skiing in that guy’s beard! At the various contests, there are several competition categories, which include full beard; full beard, styled mustache; partial beard; and our fave, freestyle beard. In the latter category, we saw a guy use hair products to mold his beard into a ski mountain, into which he affixed several tiny, plastic skier figurines. Then, he, himself also dressed as a skier to present his look to judges. It was Totally. Freakin’. Awesome. And he only took second place!
5. Who knew beardsmen were catty? Apparently, it is sacrilege to use one’s beard-growing knowledge for profit, since all the guys in the Austin Facial Hair Club resent Jack Passion for writing a book on growing a great bead. One AFC member even created a fake Twitter account to ridicule Passion and his exploitation of their precious sport. In fact, most of these dudes are adept at cracking open a can of haterade. After a man with a clearly inferior chin tuft placed in the full beard category, the others exclaimed with disgust, “That second place beard didn’t even belong on this stage.”
Whisker Wars airs at 11 p.m. Fridays on IFC.