hairy situations

A Tale of Five Mustaches: Movember, Week Two

Photo: Courtesy Photo

It’s the second week of Movember, and true mustaches are a-sprouting. While exciting, these new patches of facial hair have come with a host of problems: strange looks, beer-drinking mishaps, and mocking e-mails, to name a few. We caught up with our five Movember participants to hear about their progress.

CAL, 26, producer, L.A.

It’s as if the middle of my upper lip is allergic to hair. I have decent growth on the sides, but nothing at all in the middle. I have watched this Nick Offerman video for words of encouragement, but yet nothing. My mustache needs a motivational speaker of its own. I have considered Rogaine and even ancient Chinese herbs to cure the naked strip down the middle. 

This week, I sent a photo of myself to a good friend and fellow Movember participant who has seemingly been able to grow facial hair since birth. He responded by sending me his seventh-grade yearbook photo, in which he had a full, thick mustache. On a positive note, I think some people have been inspired to donate money out of the pity they feel toward my facial hair.

DAN, 29, consultant, Manhattan

Dan. Photo: Courtesy Photo

My mustache is not as a gross as I thought it would be. I think it’s because I’m keeping my beard stubble, and that softens the impact of my upper lip. My friends are upset about this, though, and think I should be walking around looking more gross. Surprisingly, my fiancée really likes it, but is a little concerned that the mustache and beard are not linked.

For Thanksgiving, I’m going to completely shave off the beard. I hope my mom gets a good laugh, but I think she’ll also be horrified. I haven’t had any problems with getting food in my facial hair, but sometimes when I look down, I see a bit of a hair in the corner of my eye, and it throws me off. I’ve started to comb my facial hair to keep it tame, and I always condition it as well.

JEFF, 30, writer/editor, New York

Jeff. Photo: Courtesy Photo

My mustache is coming in pretty well, probably better than in years past. I don’t know if this is because I’m older and more of a man, or if it’s somehow related to the intense love affair with bourbon I’ve had lately. Either way, it’s officially now a mustache, and I’ve made a smooth transition from “guy who probably lives in his parents’ basement” to “guy who is definitely the coolest vice-principal at the local middle school.” It’s a welcome change.

I’ve been making a point to nod to guys I see on the street who have mustaches, and have spoken with a few strangers about their Movember exploits. This is, however, a bit of a gamble, as you can’t always assume that the person who has a mustache is wearing it in the same spirit as you. I nodded to a stranger on the subway a few days ago and said “Movember?” and he said “No?” as if I’d just asked him if he bought his shoes at Kmart. Which, by the way, he almost certainly had. Also, the other day on the 2 train, a homeless (I assume) guy passed by me and said, “Cheerio.” He was not British, so I think he was making fun of my mustache.

Eating hasn’t been a problem, but drinking a well-poured pint can go awry, particularly if it’s very heady and you’re wearing white. I’ve taken to carrying a bleach pen just in case.

NICK, 27, founder of a nonprofit start-up, Brooklyn

Nick. Photo: Courtesy Photo

I traveled by plane this week, and to my pleasant surprise, was met with minimal TSA interference. Thanksgiving will probably bring about  horrified reactions from anyone who is expecting me to maintain the family name, although I do have a couple of mustachioed uncles (yup, those uncles) who will be strangely supportive.

I’ve gotten a lot of knowing nods from other gentlemen who are also on this long, stubbly road. Most conversations on the matter relate to the target style (handlebar, etc.). I’ve generally stuck to just daily conditioning at this point. Once the full length is achieved, some wax will almost certainly be worked into the equation.

GREG, 28, advertising creative, New York

Greg. Photo: Courtesy Photo

The best AND worst part about my mustache is that it doesn’t even look particularly ironic or out-of-place on me. A co-worker even said, “I don’t really notice it. I guess you just kind of seem like you’d have a mustache anyway.” Basically I look like a guy who belongs to a union and has an actual skill like pipe-fitting or something. An unexpected silver lining to this is that when I do Sandy volunteering, I’d like to think my mustache reassures people. Hopefully it says, “Competent hands are here to help.”

Come Thanksgiving, I think my family will be more perplexed than anything else. I also did Movember last year, and my 4-year-old cousin announced to the table, with total innocence and honesty, “Cousin Greg looks bad.”

I’ve never really gotten into grooming products for facial hair. The last time my mustache got long enough to need “care,” learning about a whole new set of products and strategies seemed really daunting, and I elected to shave it off instead. I guess it had stopped being fun.

Related: A Tale of Five Mustaches: Movember, Week One