In the age of the metrosexual, Paul Roof stands out in a sea of hairless men. He stands out and is proud of it -- sporting a long-full beard. Roof is not alone in his quest to buck the trend though; others across the Lowcountry have banded together to celebrate their manly manhood.
Almost three years ago, Roof setup a webpage looking for others who shared his enthusiasm for facial hair and thus the Holy City Beard and Moustache Society was born. Now, members of the HCBMS meet once a month, for pub nights, to celebrate their manhood, meet new friends or to promote a good cause.
Recently I met up with them during one of their pub nights at the Blind Tiger Pub in downtown Charleston. The group was meeting up one last time before their 1st Annual Southeastern Beard & Moustache Championships. The competition, Feb. 13 at the Tin Roof in West Ashley, is their first and beard lovers from across the country will come to compete.
The society is hosting the competition to benefit Lowcountry Women With Wings. The group hosts 3-4 events throughout the year to benefit local organizations.
I got to sit down and talk to some of the members of the HCBMS -- some of these guys had incredibly long beards. As a man who can go a week without shaving, I admit to being a little jealous at first. I met some interesting characters though as they talked about their facial hair.
John moved to the Lowcountry from Oregon and decided to grow a beard. For 8 months he has grown his beard, a symbol of freedom, maybe, as he "lets loose." Some question his need to extend his facial hair but it only fuels him to keep at it.
Sease says it is not a seasonal thing and he will be keeping his beard for a while.
Every year since age 18, Dan Riddle has grown a beard, usually trimming it down after seven months. Not one for a clean shave, he usually sports some sort of facial growth, even when not in full-beard mode. This time he plans to let his beard grow for a year.
Riddle says he joined the HSBMS to meet like-minded people and has had a lot of fun while making some lasting friendships.
Daniel McCord, from Greenville came to document the 1st Annual Southeastern Beard & Moustache Championships and follow those who compete. Looking for someone to follow to the world championships, he could easily turn the camera on himself. McCord sports a fiery red beard. .
Has been growing and shaving his beard for five years. Only recently has he let it get this long. His girlfriend says it makes him look like a rock star.
Baxley says he shaves it off after the winter months. Though it keeps him warm during the cooler months, it gets too hot in the summer and can be uncomfortable.
Brian Quein traveled from Charlotte, NC to celebrate facial hair with the society. A member of the Beard and Moustache Club of NC, Quein has competed nationally and is a member of Beard Team USA which compete internationally.
Quein said he started growing his beard about four years ago. Opting to let it grow, he soon had a contest worthy beard. Someone told him about the World Beard & Moustache Championships in England and it just took off from there.
One draw back of having a long beard according to Quein -- "It gets in the way when I lean over to work on my car."
"It's all I got after a couple of months," Patrick Brown says. "It's my recession beard because I'm too poor to shave."
Brown admits he wishes his beard were fuller but he loves his facial growth and will keep at it. A lover of beer though, he can always add to his moustache with a big swig of Guinness.
Covered in tattoos, Pugsley is a very ominous character from a distance. After talking with him, it is clear he has a big-kind heart. After cutting his hair off seven years ago and donating it to charity, he wanted to let it all grow back.
He has been growing out his hair and now his beard for 5 years. He gets asked a lot of questions about his facial hair and says many ask to touch the beard.
The Holy City Beard and Moustache Society is a fraternity, a group of friends and great group of guys who love facial hair. If you're interested in seeing burly beards or supporting a good cause, stop by Feb. 13 at the Tin Roof in West Ashley.
Thanks again to the Blind Tiger Pub for letting me take over their patio to take these photos.
Paul Zoeller is a freelance photographer new to the area. Do you have an idea for a new blog or a question about a current blog? If you do contact Zoeller at firstname.lastname@example.org.