© Martynas Juras / imonesfotografas.eu

He looks like a simple guy and often can be seen in B.O. bar but on the other hand he is the first person that gathered all bearded people of Kaunas in one place. Salvijus Gudžinskas – founder of “Bearded Kaunas” and councilman and public man of the “Beard club”.

Not every man is determined to grow a beard. When you decided to do it yourself? Maybe someone encouraged you? Does it save some time in the morning when you do not have to shave it?

Everything started in the first semester of the senior year in high school when I and few of my classmates made a bet which one of us will grow the longest beard. In a friendly manner my friends decided that I won (laughs) because others’ beards looked neat and mine was a little bit wild. As I want to grow it bigger, at this moment I am not trimming it. My dream is to be able to braid my beard into a braid but I constantly trip over a safety-razor and habitually cut it down a tiny bit (smiling). The last time I did this was in September that is way it currently looks messy. If I would shave my beard every morning, I would be walking with a lot of spots on my face because of my sensitive skin. Therefore, I solve this problem by having this beard.

Salvijus Gudzinskas 1

© Martynas Juras / imonesfotografas.eu

Is it hard to look after your beard? Did you had any troubles or confronted any uncomfortable situations and extra spending while growing it?

The most important thing is – hygiene. You have to wash it every day, brush it out if there is a need for it because if you would not do it, it would becomechaotic. What is more, the hairs of the beard are just like the hairs on your head so they like being brushed out. I, for instance, am using special balsam-oil which strengthens hair of the beard, makes them shiny, and at the same time smells nicely. Lithuanians are making such oils too. Also I know someone from Kaunas who makes wooden combs for them. Why they are wooden? In order not to make your beard hair electrified. I cannot say that men spend more money on their beards than women on their hair. There are men who do not take care of it but there are also people that are bearding not just simply growing a beard. To beard and to grow a beard are two different things: you can be without one but feel like a bearded man as some do not like how heir beard grows naturally.

Do you think that growing a beard is a part of being masculine? How do you understand masculinity?

I do not thing that to be masculine one has to grow a beard. Man, and it does not matter if he has or does not have a beard, at first has to be a real man: one of the most important things, I think, is that he should respect women and take care of them. Of course there are different opinions then mine but I was educated to be polite with women. As time passes it changes (laughs). I do not think that when you grow a beard you become a real man. One has to be a man naturally with or without a beard.

Salvijus Gudzinskas 4

© Martynas Juras / imonesfotografas.eu

Have you already had a group of friends with whom you shared tips and tricks of how to take care of one’s beard before joining the “Beard club”? Maybe there is a specific reason why you became a member of this club? What activities the “Beard club” does?

There was no such club when I first started to grow my beard. After some time I have noticed “Beard club” on Facebook, liked their page, and became interested in what they do. When I already had my beard grown enough, I started communicating with other people from the “Beard club”. Later I had an idea of a “Bearded Kaunas” which started at the B.O. bar where I met a stranger and we complimented each other’s beards. Then we started thinking why there is no such movement in Kaunas when “Beard club” is oriented more towards Vilnius. Both of us decided that Kaunas needs movement where all bearded men of this city would gather in one place, spend weekends together, play football, frisbee.

“Bearded Kaunas” celebrated its 2nd anniversary in September. We did a lot during these two years. We organized three photo shoots for Dainius Ščiuka project titled “Frame the Beard” where portraits of bearded men were taken. We joined with “Beard club” and helped them arrange first Lithuanian Beard championship. During the first photo shoot, which “Bearded Kaunas” did not had a chance to organize, we collected about 20 portraits, during the second one which also took place in Kaunas we assembled 108 beards (it took 2 days to take all the pictures), and recently we organized third photo shoot which got us 91 beards in Kaunas and about 50 beards in Vilnius. We are a little bit excited that Kaunas is more bearded than Vilnius. These photographs are being collected for Dainius’ project “Frame the Beard” which he started when he was still studying in Great Britain. His baccalaureate was about “21st century Beards in Men’s Lives” or something like that. Dainius even published a couple of photo albums on the same subject so when he came back to Lithuania, he decided to continue his collection.

Talking about the “Beard club”, main goal of this organization is to group like-minded bearded men. We also organize “No Shave November” during which we encourage men to grow their beards and at the same time check for prostate cancer. Our slogan is “When you grow a beard there is no time left for complains”. It is noted that men in Lithuania and also in other countries of the world do not take care of their health as much as they should so we motivate them to be real men and check at least for prostate cancer.


Salvijus Gudzinskas 2

© Martynas Juras / imonesfotografas.eu

Most of the people think that when you belong to some kind of organization or club, it consumes a lot of one’s time as you have to participate in various organized activities. What do you do during club’s meetings?

With all new members we communicate via Facebook and also all of the events are being organized with the help of this social network. Of course we have meetings of club members, various discussions. Usually it takes place in Vilnius as most of the members of “Beard club” are from there. The council of this organization is responsible for all the events, for instance “No Shave November” and beard championship. If there is a need we go to Vilnius or members from Vilnius come to Kaunas.

Who created the “Beard club”? What were the reasons for it? Can anyone become a member of this club or some specific invite is needed?

I do not really know who created the “Beard club” but the president of it is currently Valdas Samkus. He is a very cool bearded guy, educated and very intelligent person with whom it is easy and fun to just talk about everything and beards too. To become a member of council one has to receive a special invite because we are like a group of “masons” (laughs) but to join the “Beard club” is free for everyone.

Salvijus Gudzinskas 3

© Martynas Juras / imonesfotografas.eu

What other people think about bearded people? Are there any kinds of early attitudes towards you? Do you get a lot of compliments?

To be honest, we get a lot of different reactions. There are positive and negatives notes. We do not make a big deal out of the negative reactions as this is only my business. I, for example, do not get angry at a person who cannot grow its own beard and I do not say anything bad about him if he does not have one. That is not important for me. I am growing it for myself, because of my believes and attitudes and this would not supposed to touch anyone else that do not like beards. Well, there of course are some really nasty commentators on social media that say very negative and disgusting things such as that the beard is full of crumbs and other pieces of food that later decay although it is a full on lie. Once the president of “Beard club” said that “Beard for beard is beard”. It means that every single bearded guy will help each other if there is a need, will understand one another. Even if we would shave, we would still stand one for another. I get more attention from women when I am with beard. Speaking about the women, there is a saying between us that “if your girl does not like your beard – change the girl” (laughs) but my current girlfriend would not let me shave mine.

What do you think about the “No Shave November”? Do you encourage your not bearded friends to join this campaign or similar ones?

I do not encourage them because every single one has a choice to do or not to do so. I cannot force a person to grow its beard just because of the “No Shave November”. Of course I can suggest him to do so but no, I do not force them as it would be just like the spamming of email. Currently my friend group is structured more of bearded guys than those with no beards. Even though there are a lot of people that say that beard is just a fashion thing right now, that it will go away one day and you will shave it. I believe that beard has its own remaining value, that it is brought from one’s ancestors as to have a beard in earlier times was also a fashionable thing. So, as I said before, it is a choice of a person to beard or not to beard.

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