To long time beard enthusiasts like me, the NHL playoff season can look like facial hair amateur hour.
With that in mind, I've decided to catch up with the founder of the Chicago Beardsmen facial hair club, and my cousin, Ben Zawaski. Ben is perhaps the most enthusiastic and dedicated beard owner I know. His commitment to beardiness is unparalleled. He can help you and your beard with the second round of the playoffs are set to begin.
JZ - Ben, when did you decide to dedicate your life to facial hair?
BZ - I had dabbled in the world of facial hair in high school when I grew a goatee junior year, and I thought I looked good. In reality, I looked like I had drawn it on. My first full beard came in 2010 when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. A group of friends and I decided to grow playoff beards. The Hawks won the Cup, and I calculated that my beard was approximately 70% responsible for the championship...give or take.
JZ - How long have you had your current beard, and tell us about the incident that cost you a few inches a couple of months ago.
BZ - My current beard was born on July 20, 2012. I shaved my old beard down to a birthday moustache ( because what says "Hey world, I am 25!" like a moustache?). It has been growing string since then. Well that is until one day when I was cooking dinner and forgot to turn a burner off. I leaned into to taste some food on the back burner and caught my beard on fire. It was a sad day but I saved my beard and it back stronger and better now.
JZ - As the proud owner of a beard, what advice can you give to first timers trying to show their support for the Blackhawks?
BZ - My main advice is stick with it, no matter how horrible it looks right now. It gets better! Yes, you may look like how I did in high school. Although you may think you have sexy stubble, you probably look bad. Give it another week and you will look great. Try keep in mind that you're growing your beard as part of a group of fans in Chicago, support is always out there.
JZ - What sort of products would you recommend to maintain the luster of your beard?
BZ - I have a longer beard so I use Moonshine Beard wash and an aloe beard spray. It helps ease any itch and makes it soft and smell good. If you are not willing to pay for special shampoo, just try to use shampoo with the least amount of chemicals. The chemicals in shampoo are what dry out the hair.
JZ - People eat carrots to maintain their eye health, red bell peppers for kidney health, etc. Is there a certain food or beverage that can make your beard its strongest?
BZ - The only food I am positive that helps with beard growth is bacon. Bacon with eggs, bacon on your burger, bacon wrapped polish sausage, bacon with pretty much anything. Also beer and whiskey help a lot. If you spill in your beard don't rush to clean it off. Just let it soak in. It helps!
JZ - If the Hawks make any sort of extended playoff run, it’s safe to assume that many will fall in love with their beards and beard culture, as you did in 2010. Tell us about your group, the Chicago Beardsmen. Where can people get more information?
BZ - The Chicago Beardsmen are a group of men and women who have or love facial hair in all it's glory! We were founded last November and represent Chicago beards and their owners. We can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chicagobeardsmen and on Twitter @chibeardsmen. We are here to help with any facial hair growing problems.
JZ - Ben, thanks for your time. I'm sure Chicago's collective face will look much better with the sage advice you've supplied today.
BZ - No problem.
I hope this little post helped, Blackhawk fans. Here's to a long Stanley Cup run, and long, seductive facial hair for the weeks and months to come.
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