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"Men are freer now to make grooming decisions and keep their jobs than at any time in history," he says.
Though wartime cultural values and Army regulations kept American men clean-shaven during the first half of the 20th century, Peterkin says, the decades since have each had unique facial-hair styles, especially within countercultures.
"I felt like my bluff had been called," he says, and so he got busy launching a website and app. Bloggers helped spread the word, and membership has doubled every month, he says.
Most users come from the United States and United Kingdom; membership is also strong in Brazil, France, Canada and the Netherlands.
The site also notes—or, publicly shames—users who send the exact same message to multiple people.
Users can also search for people by words in their profiles and set their geographic range for matches to as wide as "global."Indeed, many users tell they've been chatting up people far from home.
Around 4,000 people are active on the service each day, 47 percent of whom register as having beards.
Kershaw says he gets some money from merchandise and donations, but that barely covers the cost of his morning coffee.
As articles have pointed out, Bristlr's popularity coincides with that of the lumbersexual, a term that a blogger for Gear Junkie has said he coined last November.
He hasn't gone on any Bristlr dates yet but has plans for a few meet-ups. Another user, Liz in Brooklyn, New York, met a guy for beers and burgers, and says she's even run into two ex-boyfriends on the service.
A Bristlr user named Lisa says she went on a bowling date in Washington, D. Rob Ruminski, 37, who runs a video production company in Melbourne, Australia, says that within seconds of his first Bristlr date, the woman ran her hands through his beard.
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