Gentlemen, Start Your Beards

I’ve always been a fan of facial hair. I could grow a goatee as early as sophomore year of high school, so it was kind of inevitable that I’d end up bearded. But over the years I’ve slowly transitioned from a full-time beard to what I call a Circadian rhythm of facial hair, though I guess it’s more accurate just to call it seasonal. I start growing it around the end of September, which happens to be my birthday, and keep it for six months. At the end of March, I shave it off. This provides me with warmth in those New England winters and the ability to get even suntans in the summers.

At several previous jobs, I was asked to shave the beard. One boss said to me “So, I cannot *legally* tell you to your face that I hate your beard and want you to shave it off immediately.” I got the hint. But happily, Communispace does not have these types of grooming expectations. And I have exploited this to its full extent by helping to start an annual Beardoff™ competition in the office. Everyone participating shaves at the same time and grows his beard for 8 weeks. During that time, competitors cannot trim the beard in any way, save for a neatening of the cheek/jawline. At the end of the fertile season, we take photos to be judged by a jury of our peers. Here’s what last year’s finalists looked like:

Why do we all look so angry? Especially Aaron on the left, dude looks like he’s gonna kill someone.

Now, I have been accused of only enjoying games that I can/usually win, and the Beardoff™ is not an exception. Last year, based on a jury of my peers (aka, non beard-growing colleagues), I was deemed Best Beard at Communispace. Here was my winning entry:

“A chipmunk who got his wisdom teeth out” was one of the kinder reactions from colleagues.

And yes, I used a blow drier to achieve this effect, prompting accusations from the other finalists of “He blew-drew his beard!” which, while petty, were at least grammatically innovative. Hey, whatever, I won. And what did I win? The glory of being the Manliest Man in the office, as determined by the criteria that I established. It felt AMAZING.

We’re entering the 4th year of the Beardoff™ competition, so it’s time once again when I ask the men of Communispace to put down their razors, explain to their significant others that it’s for a good cause (little white lie), and tell themselves that if they can nail that client presentation with untrimmed facial hair, then they really are on top of their game. I love working at a place that not only lets me embrace my scruff, but that allows me to corrupt others in the process. As we continue to grow as a company, however, the competition gets a little hairier each year. I welcome the challenge.

Gentlemen, Start Your Beards.