While mens' obsession with their facial hair will forever be a mystery to the finer half of the species, during these first two freezing months of the year, it's hard to argue with the men of Bearduary--the two-month-long beard-growing competition and support group--who claim that the beard is man's natural defense against inclement weather. (Of course, they also argue that it is a the "outward expression of a man's inner soul" and there is some mention of metrosexual emasculation, which you'll have to ask them to expound upon.)
What started as a bet five years ago between two men in New York has flourished into an annual rite of winter that is open to all who are willing to commit to not shaving for January and February. (Mindful of jobs and women, trimming and shaping the beard is acceptable, if not encouraged.)
Participating gentlemen are then asked to submit a photo each week to track their growth and in March, at the end of Bearduary, they celebrate/mourn the shaving of their outward expressions at a party in the City (one year, a group of them were even invited to shave live on the Today show).
Some, more altruistic men, choose to honor their "gift of follicle virility," by raising money for various charities. Another man has incorporated Bearduary into his world travels by submitting to the Bearduary blog interviews of men with exceptional beards that he meets along the way.
Whatever a man's individual reason for putting down the Bic for the -uarys -- protection against windburn, rebellion against corporate culture or to build playgrounds for children in Haiti -- there is no point in resisting the beards of 2010: they are coming.