While brainstorming what to give up for Lent, my friend Spencer suggested foregoing facial hair. This would probably be an entirely inconsequential Lenten sacrifice for the vast majority of the male population. For a stubborn, barely post-pubescent boy such as myself, however, this is no easy endeavor. For some inscrutable reason, and to the consternation of friends and family, I persist in growing absolutely disgusting facial hair.
It all started during “No-Shave-November,” which, no matter what anyone says, has nothing to do with cancer awareness and everything to do with giving guys an excuse to stop shaving. By coincidence, and out of sheer laziness, I already had a weeklong head start coming into the month. Knowing there was no way a beard could make me any less successful with women, and having the audacity to hope the inverse might be true, I decided to push my face-pubes to the limit.
By about the third week I paused to reflect on questions such as, “what has my life come to?” and “why does my facial hair lend itself to comparisons with pubes?” Whoever said, “good things come to those who wait” clearly didn’t have my beard in mind. No matter how long I might have waited, there were certain patches on my face—including, most ostensibly, my cheeks, but also that elusive region at the side of the mouth that connects the upper lip to the chin—where hair refused to grow. Plus it itched. And, I’ll admit, it did not look good. So I did what any sensible person would do. I shaved.
Except for my mustache.
I have a particular fondness for the mustache, commonly referred to as the crustache, dirt-stache, porn-stache or pedo-stache. It’s kind of like the fondness people have for their new ugly pet. They love it because it’s theirs, and nothing you say can get them to see the truth. You, on the other hand, see it for what it really is: a three legged, one eyed, black shelter cat straight out of that Edgar Allan Poe story you once read the SparkNotes for. So you cross yourself and keep a safe distance and, if you’re a decent human being, you probably smile and lie through your teeth when they ask you if you think it’s cute. In this analogy I’m some crazy cat lady, my demonic pet is the hair on my upper lip, and the poor observer is everyone that encounters me/it.
Only, in reality, I don’t go fishing for compliments, because no one has even the fakest of kind words, and the best-case scenario is usually when people pretend not to notice. That’s actually not completely true. Let me backtrack and say that a certain demographic is quite receptive to the ‘stache. Surprisingly it’s not senior girls, but rather my fellow freshman guys. In general, girls hate it. As my friend Nick observed, not only do they not like the ‘stache, they don’t care that you don’t care they don’t like it. In other words, you don’t get even get points for being confident enough to rock it because it’s just that unattractive. Or so they say. I don’t really see it.
Recently, I was growing the stache back out. A few weeks strong, I had every intention of keeping it, when—in a moment of weakness—I shaved before going to the Street. I really regret it. In a place like Princeton, where people are so aware of appearances, whether physical or social (the two often go hand in hand), there’s something refreshing about doing something you enjoy, however odd it is, and not caring about what others think.
So yeah, I comprised my ideals by shaving. The good news? “Mustache March” is here. Viva la ‘stache.