Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Mustache - Reactions

While I have received many shocked and dismayed reactions over the past few days to my announcement of my 'stache-removal, I've been certain to assure people that it is only for the good of my mustache to allow it a full regrowth and to spend some time apart from each other in the interim.

In anticipation of its removal, I have let the mustache grow to epic proportions. I went from sporting a subtle English-style mustache to a full-blown Salvador Dali-style 'stache. It is definitely a topic of conversation, good or bad.

What interests me most in people's reactions to my mustache are two negative reactions that befuddle me.

The first, I've heard many times, and I'm amused with only a slight twinge of dismay. "Wow! I'd love to grow a mustache like that, but my wife would never let me." or "I used to have a mustache, but my girlfriend made me shave it off."

My kneejerk response has always been to uncontrollably blurt out, "Perhaps you should get a new girlfriend/wife." The fact is the man or woman (depending on your preference) who is the right one for any given man or woman will be the one that accepts them completely as they are. I realize that relationships involve give and take and compromise, but one should seek out a mate that is compatible with one's eccentricities. That is why I always say that any woman who dates me must not simply "tolerate" my mustache, she must LOVE my mustache.

Tolerance and love are two different things. You tolerate a crying child, you love your mate.

I think I heard that on a sitcom.

The other negative mustache response I've received comes in various degrees and is sometime not negative at all. That is, occasionally, while shopping at Wal-Mart a group of kids, 'tweens, teens or other ruffians will pass by me and giggle. I don't consider that negative at all; I grew this mustache to be different and unique, and it is incredibly hypocritical to expect people to accept it and not giggle. In fact, giggling at my mustache is a fantastic response! I always smile to myself, knowing that I've brightened someone's day.

I've even caught people doing double-takes or coming back around an aisle conspicuously for another glance. I usually ignore them to allow them the the illusion that they are being sly and unnoticed. This happened several times last night.

When this turns negative is when it makes me feel like I'm in high school again and the target of abject undeserved ridicule. It's one thing to yell "Nice 'stache!" as I pass or something similar, but it's something entirely different to call out "Hey freak!" It's genuinely impolite. This happened last week at the mall, and I'm curious as to what the young man's reaction would have been had I turned around, strode up to him and said "Yes?"

The most extreme form of this happened last night at Wal-Mart. A group of teen girls in rather urban attire were hanging out between the checkout lines and the front door. As I was ringing up my grocies at the self-checkout, they were giggling and pointing at me in a "Look at that!"-manner rather than a "Hey! Nice 'stache!"-manner. As I passed, one of them broke from the pack and ran up behind me. Without saying a word at all to engage me socially, she stepped on the heel of my shoe and ran back to her group.

The only saving grace was that she missed my shoe so woefully that I was able to simply pretend I didn't notice and continue on my way. Had it been more noticeable, I'd have had to turn around and summon up some appropriate inquisitive reaction such as, "Seriously, what the fuck? Honestly, who steps on a shoe?"

The physical contact didn't necessarily upset me, but it confused me in an upsetting manner. Can you justify stepping on the heel of someone's shoe simply because they look different? Even if looking different is intentional and for the purpose of attracting attention, can you reason the need to physically contact that person in a negative manner? The guards at Buckingham Palace are rather stoic to all forms of verbal taunting, but if you honk their nose, they will beat the ever-loving-dogshit out of you.

I said all this simply to document it for entertainment purposes. Overwhelmingly, 99.9% of the comments my mustache draws are wonderfully positive and amusing. I am very much looking forward to re-growing my 'stache and enjoying the comments it draws in the future.

I'll leave you with this anecdote: A month ago, I walked into a tattoo and piercing shop to visit a friend and have a couple piercings done. The owner of the shop exclaimed, "Is that mustache real!? That is the CRAAAZZZIEST thing I've EVER seen!!!"

To which I replied, "Really? And what exactly is your basis of comparison?"

The Mustache - New Beginnings

The one thing I regret daily when looking in the mirror is that I did not have an opportunity to document the growth of my mustache. Lance often photographs or videos amusing or defining moments in my life, but he was busy fighting George's War while I was busy growing my 'stache.

The other thing I regret, perhaps weekly, is that I didn't have a clue what I was doing when I initially grew my mustache, and an ill-performed undercut left it somewhat irreparably asymmetrical in a manner only perceivable to myself and someone otherwise intimately familiar with my facial hair.

They say that if you love something, you should let it go. If it comes back to you, it was meant to be. As much as I hate speaking in cliches (I'd rather stab myself in the eye with a grapefruit spoon than use a cliche), this is what is the destiny of the 'stache. I'm not getting rid of it, per se, I'm merely letting it grow again to it's full potential. I will not be without 'stache, it will merely be hiding beneath the surface of my upper lip until it returns to it's full glory.

It should probably take two to three months before my mustache has reappeared in any recognizable form, and I'm sure there will be a couple weeks when it is too short to wax, but too long to leave unwaxed. Waxing it at this point will leave me looking like Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove (as Mandrake. Did you know he played Mandrake as well?).

The decided date for the trim is tomorrow morning after my Saturday evening festivities. I will be documenting the whole process and monologging unnecessarily throughout.