As a man who can’t even grow a white trash ’stache, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would feel out of place among the hirsute men of the Holy City Beard and Moustache Society. In the name of journalism, I put aside my insecurities and ventured to the Pour House on Saturday night to check out the second annual Southeastern Beard and Moustache Championships.

Upon arriving I was introduced to Bradley Adams, who later won the Member of the Year Award. Bradley was more than happy to show my baby face around and share the inside scoop on what was to come. He introduced me to Paul Roof, the HCBMS president and world renowned beard competitor. Both Paul and Bradley pointed out the world champions in attendance that came from across the country to support the event. They also informed me that this was a benefit to raise money and awareness for the Women with Wings organization in the fight against ovarian cancer.

The event was broken down into nine different categories: Sideburns, goatee, corporate beard, moustache, college beard, freestyle, ladies artificial, grey beard, and full beard. Contestants were judged on grooming, size, fullness, creativity, and overall stage presence. Each contestant stepped up to say something about their beards — most had a bawdy name for their whiskers, making the ladies cheer and blush simultaneously. Inventive facial hair and humor was the perfect mixture to keep the crowd boisterous yet attentive.

The camaraderie between these men with a shared love of creative facial hair is strong, yet I didn’t feel remotely alienated due to my lack of stubble. I felt right at home and more respectful than ever of the facial hair I will never be able to grow.

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