April 15, 2011
The query in the headline above has been posed to us several times since the Stanley Cup Playoffs began, although we're not sure how we've been positioned as experts on (a) beards and/or (b) women, based on our history with both subjects. (Unless, of course, tales of our impeccable toilet seat etiquette have finally reached foreign shores.)
The hockey playoff beard, as grand a tradition as you'll find, leaves a large percentage of the NHL's fan base feeling left out. Turns out a few of our readers were wondering the same thing we were:
What is the female equivalent of the hockey playoff beard?
One of the most popular answers is also the most unnoticeable (and unprintable) ones. DC 101's Elliot in the Morning program in Washington, D.C., has been publicizing a "Rock The Bush" campaign (PG-13 content warning) started by two female Washington Capitals fans. Which is exactly what it sounds like, and has nothing to do with either the 41st or 43rd President of the United States of America.
How astute, to embrace hirsute ... although we're not sure if this bit of rally-grooming would have been all that effective in the 1970s.
Beyond the ladies "keepin' it real," are there other annual traditions for female puckheads that rival the playoff beard? We asked some our favorite women in the hockey blogosphere for their suggestions.
And here … we … go.
As much as I'd like to be flip and say "Not waxing my legs for the entire playoff run," the truth of the matter is there really isn't a true female equivalent to the playoff scruff.
Serious lady puckheads follow the same other rituals as their male counterparts during the playoffs; same shirts worn for game time, lucky socks, and in my case; the same lucky order of "heart attack fries" from a local dive bar that propelled the Pens through the playoffs from 2008-2009.
(I tried to give the alfredo-and-bacon covered fried potatoes up for my health for the '10 run and look what happened. The Canadiens and their poutine potatoes beat Pittsburgh.)
But that's okay. The beard is meant to be a constant reminder of the playoffs from the moment you wake up until you lay your scratchy face back onto the pillow at night.
Female fans need no such physical manifestation. They already feel the weight of the Cup in their hearts.
Juniors blogger and Twitter maven Wrap Around Curl, based in Vancouver, Wash.:
As a Leafs fan when asked about playoffs my initial reaction is much like Lucille Bluth, "I don't understand the question and I won't respond to it."
But I have logged my fair share of going deep in the playoffs with the WHL.
This is a magical time of year. I have such a magnetic attraction to the Ron Swanson Mustaches, the full-on lumberjack beards, yes even the neck scruff. I just want to rub my face against the glorious statement of hockey endurance and manliness. But what is a dame to do when the menfolk get more rugged?
In theory I could knit a beard and wear that around (if knitting was in my skill set) but given my locale and the general weirdness, it would just be questioned. The only somewhat radical thing I could think of would be just letting my hair go wild and unkempt. Untamed bangs! Roots uncolored!
But as a busy college broad, that it just common occurrence.
For the playoffs, what can the ladies do? Keep it fly and always wear team colors. Get your nails done and whip your hair back and forth because you're flawless. As lovely as the shaggy men are, most of them don't have the fortune of looking as good as Jon Hamm and can sometimes look a bit ick-nasty. The ladies need to pick up the slack.
In essence, playoffs are like Miss America. It is all one big beauty contest, I mean, scholarship program. This is your chance to shine and show why your team is the best. Slather some Vaseline on your teeth because smilers wear a crown and losers wear a frown. Be witty, show your statistical prowess and knock those haters into to place. Sure it is easy for the playoff fervor to devolve into primal cavemen interaction, but you'll charm them all into paying your tab.
Playoffs are a trying time and requires a religious kind of dedication. Pouring over goalie stats is akin to reading a divine companion. There are rituals and habits that are imperative to adhere to. Holy cloths to be preserved and must not be ruined by the satanic Tide on a win streak. Make pilgrimages to the belly of the beast to show your devotion. Valiantly defend your faith and shun the smack-talking demons as they try to lure you to the dark side. It is a time that tests confidence and only the few are delivered the glory.
So turn that swag on and look gorgeous doing it.
In hindsight, I'm glad, because I'm thinking that hot gluing crystals to my ladybits isn't such a great idea. I do, however, still wish they'd made the playoffs.
Other than that, I just don't get a haircut or color during playoffs. I know of some ladies who have opted not to shave legs and/or armpits, but I can't go along with that.
Finally, the great Loser Domi of Barry Melrose Rocks:
As a Leafs fan, I feel contractually obligated to jokingly ask you what a "playoffs" is.
Now that we have that out of the way, I can fully contemplate what I could do for playoffs. Personally, I feel that the playoff beards thing is a bit silly, but I'm not going to knock other puckheads for doing it, and I am willing to play along.
I suppose I could wear team gear (except team thongs because I'm not sure why thong underwear exists in the first place.) It's starting to unfreeze a little where I am, so T-shirts and such could be nice. Also, hockey jerseys are comfy and awesome.
However, the team gear is not without drawbacks. Jerseys and such can be rather pricey. Also, team gear may not be appropriate for all occupations. For example, my job requires me to be dressed "professionally", and since I'm working with formal wear, I need to be dressed like I know what I'm talking about.
Unfortunately, Leafs gear does not fit into these requirements. In this case, I suppose I could wear team colors, which is a bit more subtle and probably works better for me.
But for braver women, here are some suggestions just for giggles:
-dye your hair team colors
-not shave anything, which would be the most logical equivalent.
-if you're a Blackhawks fan, or if you just dislike the Canucks, set your ring tone to "Chelsea Dagger"
OK, ladies, there you go. But the "no showering" thing is just cruel, even if our beards are unwieldy. But if you really want our suggestion, then look no further than the Biggest George Parros(notes) Fan in the World:
UPDATE: Another one from Monica McAlister of The Hockey Writers:
Growing up in the Metro Detroit area during the era of Yzerman, and the closest thing to a dynasty this side of modern hockey, the question of what the female fan does for playoffs has often come up. The usual answers to the hot bedded issue usually end up not being suited for those under 18 or 13, depending on terminology used.
So the easy answer is the same as the men -- don't shave.
There in lies the problem that comes with the fact that the areas women shave are either not seen or not socially acceptable to not shave (and still often not socially acceptable to show). Let's face it: The weather is getting nice in most places and dress/shorts/skirts are starting to reappear and long leg hair isn't going to fly (though it might flow in the wind if your team makes the Stanley Cup Finals).
So what does a woman do? Everything else their male counterpart does. Not wash a lucky shirt or jersey until their team starts their post season. Eat the same meal before each game if their team wins after eating it
They may even just dress up their kids favorite stuffed penguin toy in an out grown Capitals jersey - just because this year history says the Capitals are going to the Finals; but they'll lose. Thanks Winter Classic curse!
Whatever you do to cheer on your team (or mock other teams) it's all in good fun and sportsmanship.
Now go throw an Octopus on the ice and let the best team win.
Ladies: If you have your own suggestions, we'll take'em at email@example.com. Thanks for reading.