The Moustache

Luke Mehall - 02/09/2017

Faithful reader, this is my first La Vida written with President Pussy Grabber as commander in chief. But rest assured, this is not a piece about Trumpism. I figured we could all use a break. Even Alec Baldwin’s “Saturday Night Live” skits aren’t as funny as they were in the election season. That said, big shout-out to Melissa McCarthy for her portrayal of Press Secretary Sean Spicer last week. Hopefully Rosie O’Donnell, who Trump has been bullying for years, will step up and play Adviser Steve Bannon, as she hinted at on Twitter.

I think the worst part of Trumpism is that it’s taken away the lively, honest debate that I remember pre-Donald (there isn’t anything honest about him, so how can we except to have honest dialogue?) I used to enjoy talking politics with people I disagreed with. Perhaps it’s because of my parents, who often vote for opposing candidates but still get along even after 40 years! (Neither voted for Trump, which made the holidays much more enjoyable.) But like I said, this is not about Trump. This is about The Moustache.

Every year, my friends and I have a mustache competition in Indian Creek on Thanksgiving, aka Creeksgiving. Yes, careful readers, there are two ways to spell mustache; I’ll get to that shortly. Anyway, it’s a competition I’ve never participated in because I never thought I could grow a mustache. One day with my father a year ago changed that. We were discussing his late 1970s ’stache, and I lamented how I would never have one myself.

“You could do it,” he said, with a hint of fatherly pride. “It just takes some time.”

So the seed was planted, I would grow a mustache. I am a firm believer in trying new things. Not like bucket
lists – I hate that term – but just getting out of one’s comfort zone and living a little. For example, I believe
everyone should go on a blind date at least once, if not for the hope that you could meet the love of your life, but for the odd anticipation beforehand, that feeling of embracing the unknown.

A week into the ’stache in October, I texted my brother a picture of what facial hair existed above my upper lip. “Good luck with celibacy,” he replied. He was just jealous.

“You look creepy,” another one of my dear friends told me.

But eventually, as it matured, I found validation: older women started checking me out. Not just older women, but also a different breed of women, did they just need some validation I was interesting? Were they interested in a mustache ride? The mystery remained, but the looks were proof, something was working.

At Creeksgiving, the reactions ranged from creepy to in love with the ’stache. One friend, whom I’ve known for 20 years and whose wedding I officiated, simply could not look at me without laughing.

And that’s how my mustache became a moustache – elegant, impossible to ignore, commanding of ... something. Those who dismissed its power two weeks earlier became entranced. Luke actually had a real moustache

Now for years I’ve lambasted the modern mustache among anyone who was born past the late 1960s. It’s because of the irony. No true moustache contains irony, only a mustache. And my general discontent for irony as fashion is one part that kept me from following the path of the ’stache. Then, there was my love for Ernest Hemingway and his ’stache for really giving respect where respect is due.

As fate would have it, though, my facial hair took a commanding turn toward The Moustache. (Note, studies – not fake news – reveal that only 1 percent of men born after the 1960s can achieve The Moustache.)

In a strange and confusing turn of events, the mustache competition was cancelled on Thanksgiving night. Perhaps it was the libations, or maybe the organizers of the contest thought people would rather dance than sit

around a fire for a drawn-out competition, which typically involves a performance, sometimes with stripping. But instead of the competition, they cranked up the Beyonce?, and we all lost a little part of our souls.

Perhaps I’m being dramatic. The competition was held the following night, but I was already in bed. My female supporters started chanting, “We want Luke,” but I was already in dreamtime, plotting revenge.

For days I couldn’t speak about it. The competition was all I had left in this saddened world, and I wanted to throw the championship in my brother’s face for the celibacy comment. Plus, I was scheduled to get braces in two weeks. Instead of bringing sexy back, I was about to put sexy on the shelf for the next two years.

Two days later, still in Indian Creek, I had a moment of confidence. “I will keep the moustache until next year’s competition.”

The more time went by, the more the moustache continued to get validation through admiration. I caught Grandmas stealing a glance, lingering too long in coffee shops and bars. I caught hipster girls getting lost in it,

wishing their ironic, skinny boyfriends had a ’stache like mine. I got, “You look like Freddie Mercury” twice in one day. And my vibe became, “We will rock you.”
And in the midst of all of this, I met a lady. On our second date I warned her about the upcoming braces, but she seemed unfazed. True to her word, she consoled me and stayed by my side as I went through the pain of knowing braces for the first time. (Shout out to all the metal-faced teen-agers and adults with braces out there.) Soon, the moustache became both a distraction and annoyance. People didn’t say, “oh you have braces now, that must suck” they said, “nice ‘stache.” And although the moustache protected the braces, it started to itch like a brillo pad above my upper lip. Each day the ’stache was on the proverbial chopping block.

One person, that new special lady, was in love with the ’stache more than anyone else. Daily she reminded me of her admiration for it. So, in tribute to a forgotten era when facial hair wasn’t for irony, and for the ladies that love a good ’stache, and the gentlemen who show proper respect to the ladies, the moustache remains.

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