PJ started shaving his beard at age twelve. He, like may of us, had heard that the more you shave the thicker it will grow back.
“So I shaved every day for three years,” and by age 15, PJ was able to grow sideburns. PJ lived in New Mexico during his side burn growing years. His high school had a strict facial hair policy that wouldn’t allow side burns past the earlobe. “I would grow it to my jaw line. Every (school) break I would grow as much scruff as I could.”
PJ was sent to the Principles office several times, handed a double bladed razor and forced to shave his side burns to his earlobes. After many offenses PJ was even given ‘swats,’ “but that didn’t stop me.” PJ’s love for his facial hair ran deep and his school eventually realized that this was a “lost cause” on their part.
After high school PJ experimented with goatees, mustaches and beards.
“I was always hooked on the beard. The way it accentuated the jawline just worked best for my facial structure. I would grow, get bored, and shave.”
PJ eventually stopped shaving completely, “other than cheek maintenance with my single blade.” As his beard grew in length, he got mixed reviews and plenty of people around him asking when he was going to shave it off.
“I understand not everyone gets it, and that’s fine. Thats why we are all individuals and not robots. As my beard has gotten longer, I notice less people have complained. Maybe it comes full circle to my high school experience where I became a lost cause. The negativity falls upon deaf ears.”
PJ says having a beard increase his confidence and that he just feels more comfortable wearing one. “Without it I would feel like someone else.”
Through his beard journey, PJ was introduced to the Bearded Villains.
“Bearded Villains was something I somewhat stumbled upon through a bearded guy I followed (on Instagram).” After receiving his first patch of the brotherhood, the Prospect patch, PJ quickly began to realize what it’s all about. He started meeting, getting to know and becoming friends with other bearded men from all over the world who were going through their own “beard journey.”
“I quickly found out it was about meeting and uplifting each other. Giving positive messages to each other and creating a bond. Now Bearded Villains is bigger than I think anyone could have expected.”
“Chapters being built, charity work being done, and men meeting new brothers all over the globe.”
PJ says It has been a great experience. “Cant wait to see where it goes from here.”
In February of this year PJ lost his job. Tired of the cooperate world, PJ decided to do something he and his wife were very passionate about.
Gypsy and Sons Plant Based Comfort Food Truck is Buffalo New York’s first all vegan food truck offering meals with a vegan twist on American comfort foods.
“This project is something we have talked about for years. It has taken months of preparation and research.” PJ and his wife Nicole have been working tirelessly planning and raising the funds needed to get the truck ready, and to get Gypsy and Sons off the ground.
“We are passionate about bringing fresh, organic and local goodness with amazing flavor to your plate.”
Gypsy and Sons have partnered with the Compass House New York, a local organization providing safe shelter and services to runaway and homeless youth and teens in Buffalo, New York.
Along with serving Buffalo, NY with the finest vegan foods any food truck will have to offer, PJ and Nicole in conjunction with Compass House, will be hand delivering home made vegan meals out to the homeless youth in their area.
“We have a lot of people waiting on this project to manifest. It is an amazing feeling. Going out on a limb like this and risking it all. And after the feedback we have received from the community, and even nationally, I don’t regret it in the slightest.”
To find out more about Gypsy and Sons Plant Based Comfort Food Truck and their mission, like them on Facebook! While you’re at it, give PJ a follow on Instagram, where he goes by the name @beardy_mcgillicutty.