Mustachioed Like Me

November 8th, 2010

Tom Selleck. Photo by Alan Light.

Tom Selleck had a recurring role in the TV series “Friends” as Dr. Richard Burke, who was dating the much younger Monica. The guys saw him as “like the coolest dad ever” and, in the episode, “The One Where Old Yeller Dies,” they even divvy up his cool attributes. Chandler gets “The Mustache.” That was nearly fifteen years ago, and Selleck was the last bastion of the mo’.

In 2009 no fewer than four A-list actors furried their upper lip for movie roles: Brad Pitt in “Inglourious Basterds,” Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in “Sherlock Holmes,” and George Clooney in “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” They did this not because it looks fantastic but because it has such a dramatic effect, partly because it is anachronistic.

I’m no stranger to facial hair. As a student at UC Berkeley in the late 80s I had a full beard for a short period of time. And in 1994 I grew a mustache and goatee for the role of Count Rugen in a local musical version of “The Princess Bride.” These days, like Hugh Jackman–who says photographers always want him scruffy–I run a beard trimmer over my face every few days. But a mustache alone? Never.

And then I heard about Movember. From their website:

Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month. The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men. Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.

Donations gathered from sponsers benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

According to Esquire, experimenting with facial hair is something men over thirty should not do, along with owning a lava lamp and helping a friend move. And I am… well, I’m over thirty. But for the record, this is not experimenting with facial hair. I knew it would look funky. But you can’t wear Levis to raise awareness about men’s health issues, for example, because no one would notice. A mustache makes you stick out like a sore thumb, and that’s the point. It’s like the child in “The Boy with Green Hair” (1948) who learns in a vision of other war orphans why his hair has turned green:

Everywhere you go, people will say… “There goes the boy with the green hair.” And then people will ask, “Why does he have green hair?” So you will tell them, “Because I am a war orphan, and my green hair is to remind you that war is very bad for children.”

So I decided to “grow a mo’ for a bro’,” and on November 1st I bypassed the beard trimmer and shaved my mug smooth. It’s been a week, and… I’m done. It’s a worthy cause, but I’m no Magnum, P.I. Instead, I hope I’m doing my small part to raise awareness through this blog post. If you’d like to help, please consider making a donation for men’s health or spread the word yourself.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shave.

The author, day 7

Michael Singman-Aste
Postdiluvian Photo

One response to “Mustachioed Like Me”

  1. Suzanne says:

    I remember the goatee and you looked very ‘beat’. The mustache is an interesting look for you, they always look better after they have grown a bit, I wished you had hung in there for a couple of weeks just to see.
    your loving sister.

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