I read a very disturbing story in the May 21 edition of The Arizona Republic. It caught me off guard for a couple of reasons. First, the story was located in the Arizona Living section of the paper, where the fare is generally benign. I confess it is a section I rarely ever read.
Beyond that, it was the content of the story that furrowed my brow in anguish.
It was a story about a fund-raising effort. Apparently, men are growing moustaches for charity. Now, I had heard of women having their hair cut and donating it to a charity that makes wigs for women who have lost their hair during chemotherapy.
But what do you do with a moustache? I mean, are there men out there undergoing chemo who would be greatly cheered by wearing another man’s moustache? This seems highly improbable.
The story was a lamentably vague on those sorts of details. As best as I could piece it together, the idea was that men would grow a moustache, which would inspire people to give money to the moustache grower’s favorite charity.
The ambiguity surrounding this effort was not what I found disturbing. No, it was the way moustaches are characterized that jolted me.
According to Lisa Nicita, the story’s author, “A moustache these days can be a conversation starter. It’s not seen as much anymore…’’
Well, all I can say is that Lisa hasn’t been watching me for about the past 30 years. I’ve had a moustache since I was about 20 years old.
Jim Valenzuela, who is an owner of one of those fancy-smancy upscale barbershops was quoted in the story. According to Valenzuela, the moustache look fell out of favor in the 70s, when it became unruly and wild and started being associated with adult films.
You know, I’ve really got to start paying more attention to style section of the newspaper. Apparently, I started growing a moustache about the same time moustaches suddenly became code for “sicko.’’
I mentioned all of this to a friend of mine.
“Just think, I’ve been walking around looking like a creepy porno star for almost 30 years!’’ I told him. “I bet that’s why I can’t get a date!’’
My friend considered me with a cold, unblinking stare. Then put a hand on my shoulder and let out a sigh.
“Somehow I doubt that,’’ he said softly.
But you know what. I’ve grown accustomed to this old gray moustache. I think I’m going to keep it.
Sorry if that creeps ya out.