Like a hairy face? This is your place.
At the third annual Minnesota Beard-Off contest Saturday, more than 50 aficionados of facial hair will show off their winsome whiskers, hoping to be named the state's 2012 Beardsman.
"I didn't know when I started if people would be all dour and serious about it, but they're not," said Art Allen, who launched the contest in 2010. "I describe it as a comedy event. It attracts all kinds, not just hipsters. There's metalheads and old guys who look like they've had those beards all their lives."
Allen, 27, thinks bearded men get a bad rap. "People think we're dirty, or lazy, because of a few rotten apples," he said. Like Rasputin? Rumpelstiltskin?
"I blame 'Star Trek,' that episode where they made Kirk and Spock evil by giving them beards."
Allen, who sports a relatively restrained, close-cropped beard himself, believes quite the opposite is true. "A bearded man is friendlier, warmer and often funnier," he said. "He knows how to have a better time, and what true commitment is, because he's committed to grooming, shaping and cultivating his beard."
Could be, but a study recently cited in the journal Behavioral Ecology found that people perceive be-whiskered guys to be older and more aggressive -- but not necessarily more attractive. Burn!
The contest's categories include freestyle, or "thinking outside the follicles." Fake-bearded ladies are welcome, too. Previous freestyle standouts have been made of bacon and wood chips.
Every year the contest attracts at least a couple of Santa Clauses and Abraham Lincolns, but Allen is hoping for "a really good Chester A. Arthur." The 21st president sported bushy sideburns attached to a 'stache, over a shaved chin. "That's just not something you see very often," he said.