Pencil. Handlebar. Fu Manchu. Pornstache. No matter what iteration it comes in, I have a complicated relationship with the mustache.
It could be daddy issues, I guess. My father can grow a full beard just by thinking about it really hard over his morning coffee. Of course, having been born in the mid-1980s meant that my first blurry exposure to the face of the man who sired me involved a pretty magnificent ‘stache. Like a duckling imprinting, my tiny newborn brain made an irreversible connection between “mustache” and “Dad”. He shaved when I was about a year old and Mom tells me that I stood in the crib screaming bloody murder at his newly fresh-faced appearance. That is not my father, my banshee wailing seemed to say. That is an impostor with a visible upper lip. Unaccaptable. UNACCEPTABLE.
Over the years, I saw his mustache come and go. Beards arrived and left again. Once an ill-advised goatee dropped in like an unwanted houseguest and only after weeks of a two-pronged attack of pointed ignoring (Mom’s) and impassioned begging (mine) did it leave again. A few years ago, he decided that he’d gone too grey to really pull off facial hair without looking like an elder statesman, so he’s been clean-shaven ever since. Still, the little duckling part of my brain kept the association of the mustache with the paternal. Because of that, It should come as no surprise to anyone (except maybe Freud) that this means for the most part, I am incapable of being attracted to men with mustaches.
With this in mind, you can understand that while I support Movember, it basically means an entire month of coming face-to-face with men who are now the human equivalent of a cold shower. Even (especially) men I would normally find very attractive. Because now you just remind me of my dad. I’m having a hard time coming up with an equivalent that women could do to provoke the same response in men. The only thing I can equate it to is if suddenly your girlfriend showed up on your doorstep with a frosted perm and a reindeer festivest. (I can only guess that hardcore hipsters are at their leisure on this front. I don’t know what the hell it is you people get up to, but from what I can see it’s de rigeur in your circles to dress like slutty nursing home escapees, so I don’t even know what to say to you.)
Yet in spite of my mental block with the mustache, I can’t help but feel impressed by some of the ones I’ve seen. A guy I struck up a conversation with downtown last weekend was channeling Teddy Roosevelt. One mild-mannered law student I know is rocking a full-on Hulk Hogan. At least if you’re going to grow a mustache, go hard or go home. If all you can muster are eleven puny hairs above your lip, just… stop. You’re only hurting society.
So go on with your bad selves, guys. Keep that small section of your face warm for this month. But when December comes, please shave it. Better yet, grow a full beard. Both Santa and Jesus know that’s where it’s at.
(Support Movember? Then donate!)