Merb'ys round 2: 'More glitter, more by's'
The bearded b’ys of the Atlantic Ocean are back with another calendar
The b'ys are back with a fresh new calendar hoping to take the world by storm ... again.
Last year's Merb'ys calendar drew huge success, not only across the province, but across the globe.
Burly dudes with burly beards graced the pages in mermaid costumes in an effort to raise money for Spirit Horse NL, a group that offers people dealing with mental health issues the opportunity to interact with horses as a therapeutic measure.
When it was all said and done, the calendars raised just over $300,000.
They've pitched a project which is deconstructing masculinity.- Hasan Hai
"I think it's important for all men to show that there's much more to us than this sort of wall that we put up here, this armour we wear, that we're big tough guys and that's all there is to us," said Hasan Hai, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club and the man behind the calendars.
"We are emotional creatures and I think when we hide that, when we push that down, we're doing more harm to ourselves and kids around us, than we are when we're actually being our normal emotional selves."
The idea from last year's calendar actually came from a friend of Hai's.
"It came from a dare," Hai said.
"A friend of mine on Facebook had actually posted a photo of a bearded fella dressed as a merman and said 'Hasan you should do a thing.' So I pulled together some idiots like me and we made a calendar."
New calendar, new cause, new additions
This year the proceeds will go toward violence prevention in the province.
A coalition exists of 10 violence prevention programs spread out across Newfoundland and Labrador. If the calendar takes off the way it did in its inaugural year, the new recipients are in for some hefty funding.
"They've pitched a project which is deconstructing masculinity," Hai said.
"So, it's involving men in being strong allies, in stopping all forms of violence against all people. Not just men against women, but men on men, against youth, against people of various minority groups and it's amazing. So we're going to get right across the province and make an impact."
The 2017 calendar made such a strong impact that this year the Merb'ys picked up some new additions to help the cause.
- Don't call them Mermen: Newfoundland and Labrador's "MerB'ys" are fishing for better mental health care
Terry Hussey is a self proclaimed "lunch lady" who works at Memorial University. He signed on when he heard about the success of last year's calendar run.
"Mainly for the charity purpose," was Hussey's reason.
"I understand that last year they raised quite a bit of money and it's a great cause. For all the different charities that are available out there and to be able to help them out, I think it's great."
On the road and diversity
This time around the Merb'ys are going to hit the road to get the word out around the province.
"Everything is a bit bigger. More glitter, more b'ys," Hai said with a smile cracking through his impressive face mane.
"We're travelling the province. Last year we stayed pretty close to St. John's, just because the logistics didn't allow for it. Now we're travelling the whole province including the Labrador section."
And this group of b'ys is as inclusive and as open as they say they are.
"There's much more diversity. We're really happy about that," said Hai.
"We're able to get people of various backgrounds, various gender identities. You name it and we have someone who associates that way."