A Bristlr Success Story – Reinier & Emma

We’ve had another heartwarming success on Bristlr! An unlikely match between Reinier in the Netherlands and Emma in Australia, and we couldn’t be happier.

Here’s Reinier’s story:

“After being an enthusiastic Bristlr user for a couple of months I matched with the most beautiful girl in Australia. Being Dutch myself I just thought “some lucky bastard is going to be her man some day.”

Thankfully she remained interested and we kept chatting. Not long after that we exchanged numbers and started calling each other every day. We called each other for hours on end, our longest call lasting for about 15 hours straight.

It didn’t take long to discuss the elephant in the room; namely the 14000 km between us…

She offered to come visit me around Easter and we were happy and excited! Unfortunately something came up at her work so she couldn’t make it. We had to reschedule for July.

Truth be told, I couldn’t wait that long and risk some bloke coming in and sweeping her, so I decided to take the plunge and go Down Under myself.

We booked my tickets while calling and the countdown timers were set for April 15th. The nerves didn’t set in until I was cleared by Australian Customs and the only thing standing in our way was a door leading out to the arrivals hall.”

Emma was delighted to finally meet Reinier:

“As soon as I saw him, I knew it was right. It was as if the missing pieces had fallen into place. I knew then and know now that he is the only man for me.

We have spent two amazing weeks together, although he wasn’t the biggest fan of the Gnomesville forest!

2

I’ll be counting the days until we are together again; this time for good. Thanks Bristlr for helping us find each other!”

Reinier’s got some preparation before the pair can be together permanently:

“All that’s left for me  to do now is go back to the Netherlands and start wrapping things up with work and sell my house. The next plane ticket I buy will be one-way to Perth. Without Bristlr we would’ve never found each other across the globe, so you guys can take all the credit for this one!

Lots of love and gratitude, Emma & Reinier.”

We couldn’t be happier for you and we wish you nothing but joy. We’re so happy to have brought the two of your together, especially from so far away!

All the best from Bristlr!

Beards of Game of Thrones

No spoilers, just great beards.

I have a confession to make. I’m not even close to up to date on Game of Thrones! But I admire it from a distance, until I can sacrifice the hours (days?) it would take to get up to speed.

I admire the fantasy world, the success, the adoration of the fanbase. the talented actors that brought the odd bits I have seen to life. But there’s one thing I admire above all else in Game of Thrones…

I admire the beards.

So much so I was compelled to do this…

 

See? I’m a fan, even if I’m not an up to date fan. And now I get to write about beards too.

You won’t have to worry about me giving away any spoilers here, just beardy goodness. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned – don’t get attached to any of them! Such is the cruelty of Game of Thrones.

Prepare yourself. Beards are coming…

khal

Khal Drogo. I know right? You could get lost in that beard. And wouldn’t that be just wonderful?

There really are no words for the beauty of this beard. In fact, I’m struggling to form words…

What was I doing again…? Oh, beards.

Jon Snow

Jon Snow. Contain your beardgasms.

So he doesn’t have the length and the girth that Khal was blessed with, that doesn’t make his beard any less beautiful. Apparently he knows nothing, but I bet he knows a thing or two about good beard oils and grooming.

Pick your jaw up, it’s about to drop again…

mountain

The Mountain. With a beard like that, you don’t need a name. You need a title worthy of that majesty.

Look how his beard glistens beautifully with the blood of his enemies. Total dreamboat, right? Think of all the fondling as you stare longingly in to the beard.

Tear your eyes away, there’s more hairy goodness…

Robb Stark

Robb Stark. Beauty never looked so beardy.

Serving a carefully trimmed and groomed number that highlights that godly jawline. It’s hard to look away, but remember – his eyes are up here. Though I’m sure a beard rub wouldn’t go amiss.

Oh, there’s more…

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion Lannister. Those eyes. The smoulder. That beard…

He has the whole package right there, that beard is practically godly. A beard that could turn any frown upside-down (just not his own, apparently).

No Game of Thrones beard list could be complete without…

Eddard Stark

Eddard Stark. Take in all that majesty.

I don’t know about you, but I have a bad feeling about this one. I’m a little wary about getting attached. And yet, I’m drawn in by the beauty of those bristles.

I need a moment…

That’s my list of favorite Game of Thrones beards. Did your favourite make it in to the list? Or did I miss a beard? Get in touch with your favourites!

A Bristlr Success Story – Jacquelynn and Luke

Untitled-3Another message another success story! This week we’ve been contacted via Facebook by Jacquelynn to thank us for uniting her with fiance Luke.

Jacquelynn shared the story of how she and Luke met, and I was touched. It’s always wonderful to hear that Bristlr has united two happy people.

So, to thank Jacquelynn and Luke for sharing their heartwarming story with me, I’m delighted to share their story with you.

‘When I first messaged Luke neither of us thought it would go quite so far – but that’s what made it so much more special.

We weren’t pushy or too forward, we wound up having long, philosophical discussions, and related on levels much deeper than just general interests. I mean, you get a lot of messages like, “Nice tattoos! Nice beard! Awesome music taste!” So it’s a breath of fresh air to discuss more.

So after a week of messaging on Bristlr we exchanged numbers and we met up in Brooklyn for our first date. We were both nervous but we broke through that initial awkwardness and it was like we were best friends for years. We had great food and came back to his place and played some Skyrim.

After that we took a lot of trips out, and he’d use the excuse of the crowded city to hold my hand. He’s a foot taller than me, so I’m a bit easy to lose!

We decided on New Year’s eve a year ago to seal the deal. He was my first kiss of that year, and now he will always be for the rest of my years!

I stayed with him in Brooklyn for a little while until we both decided to officially move in with one another. We started over brand new with one another.

When I first told my parents that this was the man I was going to marry, my mother almost choked on her drink! She never thought she’d hear those words from me. Even I was taken by surprised, I never thought I’d say the words myself. But when you know, you know!

Luke plays roller derby, so he likes to teach me how to skate. I’m a huge music fan and play guitar so I always like to introduce him to new music, and give him musical advice.

We love spending time together (with our cat too!), playing video games and reading graphic novels. We also love to go out on adventures!

He’s my best friend, my partner and we are each others’ rocks. Not a day goes by without us expressing our appreciation for each other.

We’ve decided to get married September 30th, this year. We’re having a Pagan/Wiccan handfasting on a beach in NY, and we’re looking forward to spending the rest of our days together! All thanks to Bristlr. Cheers!!’

A beautiful story, and we’ve been delighted to share it! We wish you nothing but the best Jacquelynn and Luke!

Untitled-2

 

Beards of Star Wars

‘Tis the season…

STAR WARS SEASON!

We’ve waited long enough, and it’s finally here (almost)! In honour of the long awaited release of Star Wars The Force Awakens, we bring to you the Top 5 Beards of Star Wars!

Beware, this list may contain spoilers!

5 – Qui-Gon Jinn

Qui-Gon-Jinn_d89416e8

It might not be the lengthiest, it might not be the thickest, but Qui-Gon certainly works it. We were sorry to see this one go as early on in the prequels as it did! The force unfortunately wasn’t strong enough with this one…

4 – Ki-Adi-Mundi

databank_kiadimundi_01_169_0a8842d3

This white and wispy wonder didn’t get nearly enough screen time for our liking! Ki-Adi’s wavy beard certainly brings out his piercing yellow eyes, don’t you think? Alas, we had to say another painful goodbye… 

3 – Obi-Wan Kenobi

obiwanyoung

From bare to bearded, Obi-Wan came a long way from Episode One all the way up until Episode Four! The moment that beard appeared, we were captivated. They say beards are a sign of great wisdom, and Obi-Wan certainly brought it. Unfortunately, his role as a farther figure to Anakin proved to be his undoing. Bye-bye beardy…

2 – Jek Tono Porkins

PorkinsHasAProblem(BesidesObesity)-ANH

A personal favourite of mine; I love a burly beard. And who doesn’t love a beard in uniform? Porkins geared up and aided the Rebels in battle. Unfortunately, Porkins was yet another we had to say farewell to, too early. There’s a pattern we’re noticing here – perhaps George Lucas was afraid someone might outdo his own beard…

1 – Chewbacca

chewie-db_2c0efea2

The only surviving member of our list! Chewbacca hasn’t just stopped with a beard, oh no. Every inch is covered is bristles and we love it! This is a beard you can’t beat, George Lucas! You can even make out Chewbacca’s carefully styled moustache. Chewie’s beard oil budget must be out of this world… 

Do you agree with our list, or do you think Star Wars has more beardy goodness on offer? Let us know!

And may the force be with you…

A Quick Guide to Beard Baubles

Are you struggling to really get in to the Christmas spirit this year?

Is your beard lacking some holiday excitement?

Or do you just want to go that extra mile with the decorations?

We’ve got a solution to all of that. Beard baubles! We’ll be selling do it yourself beard bauble kits between now and Christmas, so your beard can be furry AND festive!

To help you out, we’ve made a little how-to guide on assembling your beard baubles.

Step oneGather your materials! You will need your baubles and your hair grips. 

6tag_301115-143417

Step twoTake one beard bauble and one hair grip. 

6tag_301115-143514

Step threeReady your hair grip for insertion in to your bauble. 

6tag_301115-143717

Step four Push the hairgrip through this hole that would normally be used for a hook or string. 

6tag_301115-143803

Step fivePut your beard bauble in your beard using the hair grip. Admire your bauble. 

6tag_301115-143905

Step sixMake more beard baubles. Let yourself go wild. You may want to cut the string off your baubles before this…

6tag_301115-144001

If you wish you can even make dangly beard baubles! Just use your pre-stringed bauble and put the hair grip through the string (just like step four). You are now the proud owner of a dangler!

6tag_301115-144402

A good balance between danglers and baubles creates the best look in my opinion, but your beard is your business! If symmetry is your goal, you may need a spotter or someone to hang the beard baubles for you.

6tag_301115-145737

Congratulations! You are now a human Christmas tree!

And remember, beard baubles are for anyone that enjoys the holiday season! No beard? No problem! Beard baubles can be used in any hair, anywhere on your body! Why not get creative this Christmas?

Beards and Masculinity

There’s a worrying trend and idea developing within the beard community. No, I’m not talking about our beards and sunglasses trend, let’s keep that one going. This is something much more toxic; the idea that beards are the ultimate symbol of masculinity, and that men without beards are lesser men or worse…women (heaven forbid!).

This. Needs. To. Stop.

Remember our #BareYourBeard competition? To enter our competition I asked people to send in a photo of themselves with a reason they loved Bristlr (it didn’t seem right to select entrants on a photo alone, after all). Now I won’t name and shame, but here’s a quote from one entrant that didn’t make it in to the competition;

“I love Bristlr because a dude without a beard may as well just be a woman.” – Unnamed Instagram User

Okay, so I wasn’t really sure why that was even a reason to love Bristlr for a start… But “may as well just be a woman?” Like being a woman is the lamest thing ever? Fortunately, during that competition this message was the only one of its kind, most people had lovely reasons for loving Bristlr and wanting to be part of our competition.

masculine thing 2

Unfortunately from what I’ve seen it looks like Bristlr may be the anomaly in beard fandoms. I’ve seen far too many pages that have jumped on the beard trend and posted many a beard “meme” along the lines of; beards leave women insatiable, men without beards aren’t men, beards ARE masculinity, etc. Then there’s the content that doesn’t even feature a beard, just an exploitative image of a woman with some beard related text pasted on top. That’s just plain old objectification of women, and there’s more than enough of that in advertising as it is.

This toxic trend reinforces the idea that gender boils down to just men and women – gender is fluid; you get to decide based on your own thoughts and feelings who you are. People have fought long and hard for the right to be respected as the gender they identify as – let’s not force ourselves back in to these restrictive gender norms. Whether or not you have facial hair certainly shouldn’t be a factor! And for the record, there are more women than you’d think that are perfectly capable of growing great beards.

There’s an implication that women are inferior due to their lacking masculinity. After all “beards are for men” and all that and “a dude without a beard may as well just be a woman.” There’s more than enough damaging and sexist advertising out there – don’t contribute to it, stop it!

Not all people that identify as male can, or even want to, grow a beard – we need to stop telling them that’s not okay. It doesn’t make them lesser men.

The list of reasons why the toxic air of masculinity surrounding the beard trend is damaging goes on and on. As a bearded man I don’t want people to think I look down on them for something as trivial as whether or not they can grow a beard, that’s just not the kind of person I am. I can certainly understand the pressure these ideals put on men that can’t grow a beard (even I’ve felt that pressure, resorting to dyeing and penciling to create a thicker looking beard), and it’s just simply not fair!

To get a better idea of how this damaging idea might affect other people, I got in touch with Harnaam Kaur to hear her thoughts on the matter. Oh, and notice how Harnaam rocks an awesome beard.

I am finally back home from Paris. I have met some amazing people on the streets. I have drank some amazing wine and champagne. I have eaten some fab food and deserts. I met some lovely lady street workers who loved my beard. I met some awesome people at Canal Plus and the interview went awesome. It is one of my favourite interviews ever. I can't believe just how big the show that i am in is, even the presenter (my interviewer) is a huge celeb out there. It was sooo much fun and i loved the audience. I hope to work more in Paris. I visited my modelling agency out in Paris, and everyone was just soo awesome; casting was fab too. Notre dame, moulin rouge, eiffel tower and other places that i saw made my heart flutter. I have always wanted to see the Eiffel tower ever since i was a child, it was a dream, so when i finally saw her, i cried. *Dreams do come true* The fabulous Daya toured with me everywhere and made my stay sooooo much fun. I Love Paris. Check out my interview with Antoine de Caunes on Canal Plus 12th November at 22.30pm! #harnaamkaur #harnaamkaurdoesfilm #beardedlady #beardedwoman #effyournorms #effyourstandards #effyourbeautystandards #effsocietiesnorms #bodyconfident #bodyconfidence #antibullyingshortfilm #antibullyingactivist #thequeenofhearts #thedame #plussizemodel #model #diversemodel #empoweringindianwomen #beardqueen #feminist #bigandblunt #paris #lutecehotelparis #lutecehotel #canalplus #thehair #antoinedecaunes #paristrip

A post shared by Harnaam Kaur (@harnaamkaur) on

Here’s what Harnaam had to say after I showed her one of the “memes” posted by an offending beard pages:

“Posts and meme’s just like the one you sent me is one of the reasons why women who do have facial hair feel down about themselves and their own image. Not only just that, men who cannot grow a beard due to genes for example also feel the pressure of not being ‘manly’ enough. I myself rather feel empowered to have a beard as a woman and set foot into a ‘man’s world,’ and because of my image I am able to break gender norms and stereotypes.”

Notice the bit Harnaam said about some men being unable to grow a beard due to genes? That’s something completely out of anyone’s control, and yet people are still being shamed for it.

I have to admire Harnaam’s bravery in keeping her beard and breaking those gender norms. Sadly not everyone can be quite so brave. Even sadder still, without the constant enforcement of gender norms, sexist advertising and various forms of shaming they wouldn’t have to be brave…

Bristlr’s founder, John Kershaw, also has some thoughts on the matter of the hyper-masculinity surrounding beard culture:

“It’s annoying. Beards are great things to have, but when they’re tied in to people promoting their view of masculinity, it often comes across as very blunt and patronising. It’s fine to have pride in your beard, and to have your personal identity tied to it. I’m all about being proud in how you look, and celebrating a good beard. But when it crosses into belittling others, it just makes you look like a bit of a cock. Nobody respects people who try to demand respect by mocking others, especially if they’re choosing to do it in such a sexist way.”

John expands upon why this macho obsessed beard culture of memes and social media posts/comments is damaging to everyone:

“Men often get told to be more masculine; don’t cry, be strong, be macho, etc. And it’s harmful to us. These kinds of sexist comments hurt everyone; they put down women and men without beards, and they make people with beards feel like they have to uphold this unhealthy front. Individually, these memes, posts, comments and whatnot are just harmless jokes. But taken together, as a constant stream of comments that men read, they suck.”

So beard fans it’s time we put this to an end. In fact, it’s been long overdue. Beards are pretty great, I certainly love them, but I know that they’re just facial hair and I think it’s about time a lot of people came to terms with that. Beards don’t determine gender; you can be bearded or beardless regardless of the gender you identify as.

Next time you see one of those beard memes that shames men without beards, objectifies women, or is just plain old offensive, don’t share it about. Let’s keep beards classy.

Bristlr Wins at UK Dating Awards & Northern Stars Competition

Sometimes it’s an honour just to be nominated. But this past month we’ve had the tremendous honour of winning not just one, but two awards!

Bristlr Award 2

Having been a dating site for a good year now, we were just brimming with excitement at being nominated for the UK Dating Awards 2015. We were shortlisted for three categories; Best New Dating Site, Best New Dating App and Best Niche Dating Site.

Despite being up against some pretty stiff competition, we walked away with the award for Best New Dating Site! What a wonderful belated birthday present that was.

On top of that we were in the runnings for Tech North’s Northern Stars Competition. The prizes include great opportunities to pitch to investors and even an invitation to the tech celebration event SXSW in Austin, Texas. The greatest honour is being made one of just ten Northern Stars. And guess what? Bristlr is now one of those ten Northern Stars!

We want to thank everyone that’s helped achieve these awards! Thanks to everyone that’s been involved with Bristlr since we started up and helped us get to where we are today. And a huge thank you to UK Dating Awards and Tech North!

And of course thanks to you, the fans! We wouldn’t be a dating site without you!

John awkwardly holding his award at Tech North's Northern Stars event.
John awkwardly holding his award at Tech North’s Northern Stars event.

Beards and sunglasses

You won’t believe what the latest beard trend is…

Ever since we asked for your help with our Instagram feed we’ve barely had chance to come up to breathe for the sea of submission requests. This is a good thing – you’ve all got wonderful beards and we’re more than delighted to have them featured on our page.

However, there’s one trend that’s really stood out for us – beards and sunglasses.

‘Tis the season.

We really think this could be the next big thing.

See?

We even made an Unofficial International Beards and Sunglasses Day.

But we need your help…

We need to make IBASD an official day.

So if you want to see International Beards and Sunglasses Day in your 2016 calendar…

You know what to do (and in case you don’t, that means keep sending in your beards and sunglasses pictures).

The Shaving of Oli Wood

We don’t often promote shaving – as beard fans it really goes against what we’re all about. But we can always make an exception, especially when it’s for a great cause. So, when Oliver Wood got in touch to inform us he’d de-hairing we had to find out what his reasons were…


 

1
Looking ever so happy about the idea of shaving off that beard!

So Oli, tell us why have you decided to de-hair?

Every few years I try to raise money for a good cause by doing something stupid.  My last challenge was swimming across Ullswater (longest lake in the UK) in my pants.  What I didn’t realise was quite at the time was how dangerous it was and thus how stressful for my family it turned out to be.  So this time I’ve doing something safe, but equally as tough (I think).  St Mary’s is a the hospice where my father in law was treated so well in the last few weeks of his life.  It costs almost £6k a day to run St Marys, so if I can help keep them open for even one more day thats got to be a good thing.

Wonderful cause, you can certainly count on Bristlr’s support! Was the decision to shave a tough one?

Yes, pretty tough, it’s a big part of my identity.  To be honest removing the rest of the body hair is more challenging  I think a lot of men have their imagine of masculinity tied up in their hair (Samson et al) and I’m no different.  It’ll be painful and humiliating on the night but waking up the next morning will be scarier.

How long have you been growing that beard?

I think I’ve had a beard continuously for about 2 years now.  I normally keep it trimmed and tidy but since I set myself the challenge I’ve been letting it and my mustache grown out.  On and off I’ve been trying to grow a beard for nearly ten years (so many false starts) so it’s going to be pretty tough to go back to being completely clean shaven.

Are you a slow grower or will your beard be back with us again soon?

Not fast enough!  I’m being shaved and waxed on a Thursday night so that going into work the next day is challenging.  I’ve also gaot a big family gathering that weekend too.  I’m hoping I’ll be back to having a reasonable beard by the New Year.

How did you find us?

I’d heard of you on Twitter and then met John at a tech meet up in Newcastle (and got a bit over excited). I’ve a huge amount of time for Bristlr because of the amount of thought that they’ve just into gender, sexuality and relationship status.  In 2015 your shouldn’t be asked “Are you male or female” when you sign up to a service.  I’ve got a Bristlr profile primarily for making new friends.

We’re delighted you came to us, and you’ve got our support all the way! Anything else you’d like to add?

I promise to grow back my beard and body hair as fast as is humanly possible.  The world shouldn’t be without another beard.


There you have it; Bristlr is, just this once, very much in support of shaving! Please, please show your support for Oli and this fantastic course by visiting his funding page and giving what you can.

Good luck to you Oli and St Mary’s Hospice! Bristlr wishes you all the best!

 

PS. For those of you wanting to use your Bristlr mugs creatively, try out Oli’ recipe for strawberry jam with chilli and lime.

A Bristlr Success Story – Clint & Jennifer

Not one week after our last success story, we’ve had another wonderful couple come forward to thank us after they met on Bristlr. Say hello to Clint and Jennifer!

unnamed“Jennifer and I have a bit of a unique story. Jennifer’s friend had told her about Brisltr, so she decided to join up. I was already a member at the time, looking for that special beard lover. I spotted her on the site and got in touch.

Nearly a year later we’re still together, thanks to Bristlr! We’ve even started a business together in the beard industry! We’ve formed an LLC called Templar Beard Company selling beard oils and other beard products. 

Bristlr, we thank you for the love we found – without you our paths would have never crossed.” 

Awwwww! That last bit has just made our week, thank you Clint and Jennifer! We wish you nothing but success with your relationship and Templar Beard Company!

And whilst we’re on the subject, are you looking for quality beard care products? Why not visit Templar Beard Company? We’ll be sampling their products soon!

All the best to your, Clint and Jennifer!