NEWFOUNDLAND, Can. — Bright colors, plenty of fish scales, and gnarly beards. For the second year in a row, members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Mustache Club are dressing up like mermen for a charity calendar.
The same group went viral last year for their must-sea dudeoir calendar. They’re raising money this time for a local violence-prevention organization.
The program aims to reduce violence against vulnerable populations in the community: such as women, children, and the disabled. The charity also spreads information to educate the public and create support for those in need.
So even if you find the men in their flipper-best amusing, they’re really wanting to contribute their time and energy to a noble cause.
“After last year’s calendar went viral, we knew we found the perfect organization and project to support this year,” the group’s founder, Hasan Hai, told HuffPost.
The Merb’y’s 2019 calendar comes from the word “merman” and the Newfoundland term “b’y” (pronounced “bye”), a gender-neutral term similar to “buddy.”
The beard and mustache club is for anyone who grows or feels aromatic about beards, mustaches, and muttonchops. It’s also for those who want to give back to the community.
Last year the social club raised $250,000 for the Spirit Horse Mental Health Program, a charity that provides animal therapy for people who need a little extra help.
This year the beard and mustache club wanted to be more inclusive with their calendar. Trans men, men of different sizes, and men with different skin color joined the photo shoot.
“What most people don’t realize is that being selected to be a merb’y has nothing to do with your physical appearance or amount of facial hair you have,” Hai said. “We heard from more than 150 applicants and selected people solely on their written applications. It’s really the beard inside that matters.”
Fun Facts About Mermen:
- Mermen are mythical male equivalents and counterparts of mermaids — legendary creatures who have the form of a male human from the waist up and are fish-like from the waist down, having scaly fish tails instead of legs.
- In Greek mythology, mermen often appeared with green seaweed-like hair, a beard, and a trident.
- In Irish mythology, mermen are described as extremely ugly creatures with bad teeth, narrow eyes, and a red nose.
- In Medieval Europe, mermen were blamed for severe storms and sinking ships.
- Triton is a well-known merman. He is considered the son of Poseidon. He is the father of Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989).
- Science fiction writer Joe Haldeman wrote two books on Attar the Merman. The story is about genetically enhanced mermen who can communicate telepathically with dolphins.
- In J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, merpeople live in a lake outside Hogwarts.
- Superman and Batman have both been mermen at one point or another — but oddly Arthur Curry, Aquaman, hasn’t. DC Comics’ official profile of Aquaman makes no reference to Aquaman as a merman.