The Elusive Chin Curtain

By Beacon Staff

The World Beard and Moustache Championships are returning to North America in 2009, which – if you didn’t know – is a big deal. It’s only the second time the biannual contest has been held in the states. And Team USA (they have one) is already grooming its collective hair for the competition to be held in Anchorage, Alaska. Perusing their bristles makes mine feel inadequate. And so does the beard of Beacon writer Dan Testa.

I don’t know if you could call the scruff on my face a beard, or simply a reluctance to shave – a trap I fell into soon after I moved to Wyoming more than a decade ago and continued when I came to Montana. There, and here, it’s fairly accepted to go a week or two without shaving, just trimming. So I do. Then, over time, as it grows, as it sporadically fills in, I imagine the things I could shape.

The “Hollywoodian” would require shaving off just my sideburns and leaving the rest. It’s very, well, Hollywood – the opposite of mutton chops. Then there’s the “French fork,” “Balbo” and “chin curtain.” Each is as fancy as the next and require a full beard – the essence of my problem. Mine’s weak. And I’m reminded of that fact every time I let it grow for too long, when it resembles a heavily logged forest and receives strange stares. I’m also reminded of that fact by Dan Testa, who has a full beard and the potential to pull off a “Van Dyke.”

But he and these photos of the winners at the 2007 championship in Brighton, England, prove – like any competition – not everyone is able to compete at the highest level. Thus, I will continue to trim mine and cheer on those who can grow legitimate “Hulihees.” U-S-A! U-S-A!

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