Michael Keyserling is learning that beauty requires sacrifice.
"It's just very difficult to look pretty with a mustache and goatee," the president of Alzheimer's Family Services said.
His carefully trimmed facial hair will be one of the casualties of Saturday's Beaufort Beauties drag pageant.
To avoid an on-stage disaster, Port Royal Councilman Joe Lee is opting for two-inch heels instead of four-inchers, which are more fitting for his character, anyway. He said they're not that much different from the cowboy boots he used to wear.
"I'm not going for the top end of glamour since I'm older than dirt," Lee quipped. "So I'm going for the mature look. There will still be plenty of places to stuff dollar bills, though."
The pageant raises money for Main Street Beaufort, USA; HELP of Beaufort; Alzheimer's Family Services; and the Child Abuse Prevention Association. Prominent men in the Beaufort area dress up and compete for the crown, performing as a group and in solo talent acts.
"Talent" is quite loosely defined.
Contestants hinted their acts will be bizarre and somewhat sacrilegious, but it's for a good cause, they say, and therefore worth the sacrifice and embarrassment.
"I'll do anything for charity," Paul Cole said, explaining that Main Street Beaufort executive director LaNelle Fabian talked him into competing several months ago when he had a few beers in him. He thought everyone forgot -- until they called to tell him the plan.
Cole's wife walked in on him trying on dresses a few weeks ago and gave him a frank critique: "She said I'm going to make one ugly woman."
About 50 of 250 tickets remain, Fabian said, and contestants have already raised about $8,000, which is more than in the past. Miss Congeniality goes to the top fundraiser, and contestants are so close it's likely that tips Saturday night will be the deciding factor, she said.
This year's contestants are:
- Sophilthiz -- Michael Keyserling. To donate, click here.
- Lucille Balls -- Paul Cole, Paul Cole Design. To donate, click here.
- Miss Olda Portia Royale -- Joe Lee, Town of Port Royal. To donate, click here.
- Madam Heidi Fleiss Meister -- Jerry Ashmore, The Greenery. To donate, click here.
- Hova Caine -- Jeff Draude, U.S. Navy. To donate, click here.
- Portia Royale -- Van Willis, Town of Port Royal. To donate, click here.
- Double Dee -- Walter Brafford, U.S. Navy. To donate, click here.