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.

Fig. 1.1: Science
Fig. 1.2: Tom Selleck

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!)


Stuff I Like

Sometimes I sit down to write something and all these feelings pour out. Sometimes I sit down to write something and I’m so tired from packing up all my shit that all I really want to do is recommend stuff to you. Tonight is the latter.

Music-wise, I really, really cannot recommend Ian Foster enough. He combines dusky vocals and simple but effective arrangements with fantastic and evocative lyrics that will knock you on your ass. He’s also a jerk who gets to tour Italy and the Netherlands for the next month a pretty cool guy and a good friend of mine. (Listen: If The Weather Holds)

Also, do yourself a favour and check out Amelia Curran. I’ve been obsessed with her song “The Mistress” for weeks. (Listen: The Mistress)

If you’d rather steer away from the acoustic route, check out Shiny Toy Guns. Yes, they had that song in that cell phone commercial. Yes, it’s addictive. Yes, the rest of their stuff is pretty good as well. (Listen: Le Disko)

I’m also one of those idiots just discovering Warren Zevon. How did I not know about this guy? Kid Rock should be beaten daily with a shoe for sampling “Werewolves of London” in his shitty song. (Listen: Lawyers, Guns and Money)

If it’s books you want, Mary Roach’s Bonk is a fantastic read. The wit is dry but the writing isn’t. If you’re not at all inclined to care about historical experiments it might be a bit of a slog, but the curious-minded among you will probably get a real kick out of it.

If you’re the type of person who gets in long-winded conversations about pop culture and the effects on society (slacker Sociology majors, represent),  Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs is definitely worth your time. Chuck Klosterman is my future husband, even though he doesn’t know it yet.

You need the Cyanide and Happiness book. You just do. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I’m not really much help when it comes to fiction, but I’ll go ahead and bolster my Canadian cred by recommending some Margaret Atwood. Start with The Penelopiad and if you feel like something more time-intensive, pick up Cat’s Eye. Her prose isn’t too in love with itself but she can turn a phrase like it’s ballet.

Dylan Moran gets a category of his own. If you like lovable, misanthropic drunks (and if you don’t, I can’t imagine why you’re reading my blog), here are my instructions: watch Monster, watch What It Is, order Black Books on DVD, improve your life immensely.

For random stuff you don’t really need, FLOR tiles! Tell me that isn’t the neatest shit ever. The apartment I’m moving into has amazing Smurf-blue walls but the floor is heinous, so I will be investing in these as soon as possible.

I also like not packing.

What stuff do YOU like?

The Internet Is For Porn

I watch porn now and again. For obvious reasons, I don’t bring it up often in conversation. For starters, it’s rare to have the opportunity to discuss the comedic merits of Evan Stone, the greatest pirate hunter in the world, around the water cooler at work. For another, it’s one of those things that people often find disconcerting in a woman. Either I’m trying too hard to appear cool and sexually liberated or I’m single-handedly (no pun intended) destroying the feminist movement. I could write a whole essay on the subjugation of women in the porn industry or how sexual freedom has become somehow culturally synonymous with being open-minded, but it’s been done before and likely better than I could do it justice. I get both arguments, but personal-is-political aside, I feel like what happens between me and Tube8 in the privacy of my own home isn’t really the concern of lecherous dudes or Catharine MacKinnon, so aside from the obvious irony of writing a blog post about it, I don’t so much mention it.

That said, I have to speak up and talk about certain persistent problems I’ve seen that need to be addressed.

Bad dialogue. I know, I know. Saying you like porn but hate the cheesy dialogue is like saying that you love the Mona Lisa but you think she could stand to wipe the smug look off her face. I’m not making a complete blanket statement here. If the pizza guy knocks on the door during a game of truth-or-dare at the cheerleader camp sleepover, you would be simply disappointed if said delivery did not somehow offer meaty sausage. This guy works customer service and will never get an opportunity like this again, let’s cut him a little slack. Between So Terrible It’s Actually Amazing and Huh, This Is Actually Decent, there’s a bleak no-man’s-land where someone thinks it’s actually acceptable to say the words “hot snatch”. Unless you’ve just stolen some baked goods fresh out of the oven, no. Just no.

Ugly sets. Pool? Fine. Office? Fine. Generic but otherwise inoffensive bedroom? Fine. Futon with wood paneling in the background? Not fine. Some guy’s garage? Not even allowed within 100 yards of fine. Hang a drape, use some cushions, invest in some lighting. No, a guy holding an Itty Bitty Book Light just off-camera is not lighting, I don’t care if he is union.

Long fingernails. I guess I should be up-front and say that this is something that skeeves me out in general. I appreciate a pretty French manicure as much as the next girl, but I cannot and will not accept talons near the gentle areas. Actually, this leads me to my next point.

Misuse of the clitoris. For those of you just joining us in ninth-grade biology, the clitoris is a bundle of nerves at the crest of the labia that has roughly 8000 nerve endings. To put that in perspective, that is twice the amount of nerve endings contained in the head of the penis. It is sensitive. It is like a landmine whose mother you just insulted. Every woman is different in how she prefers hers to be treated (though I’ve heard “to the left a little bit” is usually a good bet), but I can tell you right now that it does not like to be poked at like you’re testing it for signs of life. You’re not sending an angry text to an ex-boyfriend. A genie is not going to come out. You do not pull back the hood and go to work like you’re fixing the transmission, you approach that bitch with respect or you risk getting kicked in the face, so you step lively and ask firmly but politely how its day was.

Wardrobe. I accept that a certain amount of rayon is inevitable. I get that all schoolgirl uniforms are going to look like they came straight from class at St. Bambi’s Whore Academy. I will immediately turn off any clip that shows a man naked except for his socks. I have to have some standards here.

It’s not all bad. Some people obviously have had the same thoughts I’ve had and have set out to make the wide world of erotica a better place. I can appreciate that there are varying tastes in the world. I just don’t like wading through a sea of dreadful XXX’s in search of a decent O.