Paul Roof, Commander of the Holy City Beard & Moustache Society, welcomes competitors to the Tin Roof for the group’s first Southeastern Beard & Moustache Championships. Right: Contestants Brian Quein (of Charlotte) and Lisa Deakins, winner of the Ladies Artificial category.
february 18, 2010
Hair-Raising Fun Gone-native gents show face at the Holy City Beard & Moustache Society’s first annual Southeastern Beard & Moustache Championships
WRITTEN BY Harriet McLeod
Kevin Demarest traveled from New York for the competition.
Last Saturday night, the Tin Roof, a low-slung former bait and tackle shop in West Ashley, and its parking lot puddles reminded me of a gone-native friend’s wood-and-tin shack on the Mississippi River. What would cause some 200 people to crowd this muddy lot and pack inside the light-strung bar on a wintry evening? A full-out hair-raising celebration. This past weekend, dozens of gone-native men (i.e., those who don’t shave) turned out for the Holy City Beard & Moustache Society’s first Southeastern Beard & Moustache Championships benefiting Lowcountry Women With Wings, which provides education and support services to women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and their families.
This beauty pageant for fellas with facial hair drew 49 competitors. Kevin Demarest, a 50-year-old retired New York City police officer sporting 19th-century guns in holsters, drove down from New York. Four guys from Clemson’s Upstate and Classy Bearded Society, one wearing red long johns, said it took them nine hours to get here in the snow. Brian Quein, 29, came from Charlotte. With a beard twisted into waxed and sculpted spikes, he’s competed in world beard/moustache competitions in Alaska and England.
“The vintage and retro look has really come back,” says Paul Roof, Commander of the Holy City’s beard-obsessed and president of the South Carolina Beard & Moustache Association. “I think there’s a backlash against the sort of feminization of men, like the metrosexual. The attitude is sort of: ‘God gave me a beard. I’m supposed to have a beard. I’m not supposed to wear eyeliner.’” The society’s motto reflects that old-school thinking: “Bringing back the ’80s facial hair to Charleston...the 1880s.” Plus, asserts Roof, “guys will compete over anything.”
In between sets by local bluegrass band Flatt City, competitors showed face in several categories, including Full Beard Natural, Sideburns, Recession Beard (a patchy meltdown), Gray Beard (aka the Salty Dog), and most bizarre, Ladies Artificial (or simply the Southern Belle). In the end, Summerville’s Richard McMakin, the sort of the Papa Bear of these things, was named the
Southeastern Full Beard Champion.