The hairy-faced gents of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club are raising money for a mental health charity by posing as mermen for this 2018 MerB'ys calendar.
Calendar proceeds are going to Spirit Horse NL, a group that offers support to people with mental health issues via therapeutic interaction with horses. "They're desperately in need of funds and awareness because it's expensive to raise and upkeep horses," says Hasan Hai, who founded the [club]. He knew instinctively this was a challenge fit for the MerB'ys. "I figured right away that this is a cause our club can get behind." Once they had a charity to champion, finding willing men with facial hair did not prove problematic. Hai says he was immediately inundated with at least seventy beardos more than keen to get fishy for the fund raising initiative.
…One happy byproduct of the initiative is that they're also getting to challenge some persistent gender norms.
Hai says rolling around as MerB'y has allowed him and the other MerB'ys a wholly "different take on what manliness and masculinity looks like." He says the response has been largely positive. "People blowing kisses at one another, guys holding hands, being whimsical and silly – it's a lot of fun." That the project ended up "poking a lot of holes at traditional gender roles and stereotypes" was a bonus. As was some added body confidence. Stripping down for charity has made the founder feel more at home in his own skin (and scales).
He decided early that any reservations he might have had were secondary, asserting, "I will sell my dignity for a good cause here."