What moustaches mean to me
What moustaches mean to me - a Movember tale
It’s a tad difficult for me to actually grow much more hair on my upper lip than the five stragglers that I pluck sporadically (my eyebrows – well, that’s a completely different kettle of fish – when the tweezers have gone the way of the odd socks, Chris de Burgh has nothing on me) – so I thought I would share a tale with you for my small part in Movember.
Growing up in the wilds of Cumbria, well – a shipbuilding town but that doesn’t sound quite so Wuthering Heights – my father always bore a thick black moustache, tinged with flashes of red. Forced to pin his style down I would label it a neat Ned Flanders. It was the norm to me, it balanced his face, and I never questioned just what its existence meant.
When I think back there was an ocean of moustaches surrounding my childhood – teachers, fathers of friends, uncles – all swimming towards the Burt Reynolds look. ‘Twas on a fateful day at the age of 14 that the stark revelation of the trust that was held within the hirsute upper lip struck. Now English was one of my favourite subjects, my teacher was small but firm (in manner) and donned a fine example of moustachage through our voyages of literary discovery. When I met the First World War Poets, Shakespeare, John Steinbeck - yes, all lessons were delivered with enthusiasm by this hairy man. Even the day he told me I had won the school poetry competition (and that my poem had made him cry) was a hairy day. Then, one morning, when my friends and I were probably discussing jazz shoes and Duran Duran, he entered the room. His bare upper lip shone, the skin slightly paler than the rest of his face. What had possessed him to take razor in hand the God of Barbers only knows, but as each clump of soapy bristles were washed down the plughole so was my trust and respect. It was just all wrong.
Now my father still dwells, shall we say, on the edge of the wilds of Cumbria. Okay, Barrow-in-Furness – birth place Dave Hairy Biker. On their last visit they arrived – on first glance all was well. Mum was still small, smiley and cuddly. Dad was still medium, grinning and… and… and - milliseconds passed as the paternal cortex of my brain computed – he was moustacheless! He had an upper lip! It was just all wrong. Poppa Wells, devoid of tash. I squealed. Apparently it had too much grey in it – too much grey? Define too much grey. As the days of their visit passed five o’clock shadow turned to stubble, stubble thickened and grew until skin was once again carpeted over. Normality reigned. My childhood was restored.
Long live the moustache and all who sail with one!
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