- posted: November 06 @ 7:04am
As a foodservice industry professional, I was a little reluctant to do Whiskerino. I didn't think that, between dress code and health code, I would be able to pull off a big gnarly beard. However, in a last-ditch effort, I wrote a petition to my restaurant's area manager. It worked! I have included the text here for your consideration and inspiration. Names changed to protect the innocent. -zfa
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is [zfa]. I am a line cook and a server at [restaurant] in Joplin, Missouri. I have worked at this location for eight months. I am writing to you with a special request that an exception be made to the company dress code for me and for [steve-o], another employee on whose behalf I also write.
[steve-o] and I have recently registered as participants in Whiskerino 2009. Whiskerino is a beard-growing fellowship founded in 2005 by Michael Eades. Every two years, Whiskerino participants from all over the globe commit to growing their beards for four months (November 1 to February 28) as a celebration of masculinity. There is a Whiserkino website on which members update their online profiles to share their progress with others. Whiskerino culminates in a weekend-long event in Nashville in which members gather for fellowship and awards. [steve-o] and I participated in 2007, along with ten other friends of ours from Joplin. In addition to this, we befriended dozens of other beard enthusiasts from several different countries. The bonds of friendship and solidarity forged and galvanized by our shared beard-growing experience last even to this day. The Whiskerino website is a great way for us to maintain contact. My lifelong best friend, [absolutely], is serving with the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan. As members of Whiskerino, we can not only keep in contact, we can also share a fun and exciting experience across the distance that now divides us. I know this may be difficult to understand for someone who has not actually experienced Whiskerino personally. Please try to understand the importance of this event from my perspective and lend clemency to my request.
I enjoy my work as a line cook and a server at [Restaurant], and I understand the company’s policy on facial hair. I am also aware that not all segments of society perceive beards with the same respect and admiration as we do. For what it’s worth, however, I would like to point out that beards have been historically regarded as symbolic of strength, virility, and wisdom. When one takes into account the whole scope of human culture and history, it becomes apparent that beards are generally respected and admired, and those who disdain them are, in actuality, an infinitesimal minority. Beard-growing is compulsory in some religions and is encouraged in others. Adherents to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism (among others) sometimes grow beards voluntarily for a time to demonstrate religious devotion or as an ascetic practice. We consider the four-month commitment that we have made to beard growth as a religious duty, and request that you also think of it this way. In this light, please honor our request and grant [steve-o] and me permission to grow our beards for the duration of four months, from November 1 to February 28, 2010. We are willing to wear beard nets and cooperate with any procedures necessary to maintain the cleanliness of the restaurant and the quality of our products. I have included my contact information as well as [steve-o]'s, along with Whiskerino’s web address. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. Thank you in advance for your consideration.