Have you seen those undercover TV shows where skinny, universally attractive women put on "fat suits" and go out into the public eye to be scrutinized, always to their surprise? This week I put on my fat suit equivalent -- a mustache -- and the results were just as startling. Before I divulge, I should note that I shaved down to the stache to inspire morale around a Mustache Madness contest I've been working on at the office. So, I rolled into work on Monday looking something like this:
Notice the pine needle-like hairs and the width just outside the upper lip. It was an 80s masterpiece. It was real.
I knew I'd get some good looks at work, but I had no idea that people would treat me like an entirely different person. I felt like I had put the fat suit on! Interestingly, the reactions I received seemed to divide down gender lines.
Feedback I got from men:
- "Dude, that is awesome. My facial hair only grows as a goatee. I can't even get my cheeks going."
- "That is frickin' awesome. YES!!!"
- "Let that go long enough that you can gel it into some curls."
Feedback I got from women:
- "You look like a creeper, dude. A serious creeper."
- "I can't talk to you today. I can't even look at you."
- "How does your mustache look so blonde and come in lighter than your eyebrows?"
In summary, the guys respected the mustache and the women despised it. I managed to keep the mustache through Tuesday, but by the end of day two it was in the interest of maintaining all of my female relationships that I shave the stache immediately.
I know what you're thinking: What was your wife's reaction? Amanda was actually the best sport! She told me in several iterations "You look weird," but she put up with it and it's probably not the worst she's seen of me. I'm sure she'd take a full-time mustache for more foot massages.
I learned a few things through this experience: I still have a few years ahead of me before I can grow a mature mustache in the model of the great mustaches that came before, like those donned by Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, John Oats, Sonny Bono, Freddie Mercury and Geraldo Rivera. As a society, we still have a lot of work to do to accept people of all mustache-growing capabilities and accept people for their facial hair shapes, colors and size. I'm proud that I was able to expose these challenges in the hopes that all men will be accepted and celebrated for their mustaches one day.
Finally, I learned that mustache should not return. I did look like a creeper!