When a girl is into beards, she's really into them, and it's often part of a plaid package deal. Enter LumberMatch.com, the courier of said special delivery.
Launched in January of this year, many of us thought that this virtual place "where the beards meet the beauties" was a joke. But now with 5,544 members, a decent social media following and a bizarre YouTube commercial, this beardo-friendly dating site appears to actually be real.
I opted to try it out myself in hope of learning something about the site, or learning something about lumberjacks, or learning something about dating in general.
Setting up an account requires selecting a membership level from free to $9.99.
I went with "beardiful," the middle-of-the-road option, because that's how I date. Plus, you can't do much without the private messaging feature.
However, the "Lumber Legacy" Ultimate Unlimited Membership was too intimidating.
"This is a completely new offer and this price is only guaranteed for the next 47 members who take advantage of it." What does that even mean?
Before diving into direct messaging, I posted a status update, trying to fit in.
Admittedly, I may have been trying too hard.
Public posts from the lumberjacks themselves gave me insight into what they're looking for...
...which is basically what most single people are looking for -- someone who shares their values, sense of humor and disdain for modern technology.
I noticed that a majority of the active users were women.
Perhaps it's just an issue of lumberjacks being such a hit with the ladies. While you can't see their faces, only one of the active users on my feed was a dude (Bluff City Beard), and what a lucky dude he was. If we ladies were all that thirsty for flannel and facial hair, the odds were certainly in his favor.
I checked the group section to see if that's where all the other men were hiding.
I found a variety of communities based on location, politics, sports and some creep named Turtle Boy.
A few guys approached me before I approached anyone, but they kind of blew it.
I managed to engage in some light flirtation about my profile picture and fielded several invites to more scandalous messaging apps. Still, I struggled to figure how anyone used this site for actual dating.
I decided that I'd be better off taking the initiative.
So I reached out to the first guy I saw, Bluff City Beard.
There may not have been much romantic chemistry between us, but he did help me learn something about lumberjacks -- cats aren't required, but they are encouraged -- so it wasn't a complete waste.
Here's what else I learned: Lumberjacks don't need LumberMatch.com to succeed romantically.
As for teaching me about dating in general, the lesson was mostly just that a lot of women love this type of guy and will seek them out. Lumberjacks could probably succeed on any dating site; LumberMatch.com is really for the convenience of beard fetishists who are seeking them out.
(The site also feels like more of an online community than Tinder, for example, and has the potential to connect people on a level beyond a basic beard fetish.)
The real moral came in yet another unsolicited direct message.
And it was this: Lumberjacks are not stupid (and neither are single people in general). Don't mistake their vulnerability for gullibility.
Now feeling more guilty than lumber-curious, I respected him for calling me out and shut down the experiment. If I learned anything, it's that these beards don't need any help finding the beauties ... and they can spot impostors from a mile away.