What Was I Thinking?!

J. M. DeSantis Cuts Off Handlebar Mustache

Much to my surprise, my handlebar mustache has proven very popular. Of course, I won’t make the claim that each and every person I come across loves the thing, but generally speaking, there seems to be an uncanny amount of people who come up to me asking for a picture with me and my mustache or simply to say what a great mustache it is. Even Chadhiyana (my most popular creation to date) doesn’t quite seem to rival the attention my mustache gets–well, that may not be true, but it certainly does seem that way. That said, one may wonder why I planned to shave the thing off following Halloween this past weekend.

It was about a year ago that I participated in No-Shave November (as the name suggests, neither men nor women shave during the month–a wonderful excuse for shaving laziness). And what with the winter being so cold, my facial hair stayed on through February. It was then I decided to turn the top whiskers into a handlebar mustache. As it is, I’ve always had a keen interest in Victorian literature and fashion, and I thought if I was ever going to try one of these things out on my face (even if it was short lived–and I expected it would be), now would be the time.

Surprisingly, it was a success. My co-workers at my teaching job liked it, my students liked it–even students I’ve never had in class–my peers (in the writing and art professions) liked it, my friends liked it, perfect strangers liked it and, most importantly (anyone will tell you), my girlfriend liked it. Other than my mother and one co-worker, I’ve never had a complaint about it.

J. M. DeSantis Handlebeard FisticuffsEven so, I was set to shave the thing off after Halloween this year. It is a high-maintenance style, after all, and it’s not very fitting for my yearly appearance at the Renaissance Faire (in costume as a medieval swordsman). It also doesn’t leave me a lot of Halloween costume options. I was done, as I imagined I would be at some point, and though Movember (moustache-November, where men grow out mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health issues) was approaching, I thought I’d go for the No-Shave thing again. Little did I know how unpopular this decision proved.

For a week or two leading up to Halloween, I told various people that the mustache was going away after the holiday. The response was often the same: something to the effect of “Why?!” Then, on Halloween, I had a few students remark how they didn’t want to see it go. Even more was that at a wedding for my friend Jimmy I attended that night, I had two or three wedding guests, three waitresses and one or two waiters compliment me on my mustache. More, almost every one of my friends kept saying they didn’t want to see it go.

Then, two days later on my birthday, I received a mustache-themed birthday card, the napkins for the cake were printed with mustaches, and even the candles on the cake were little handlebar mustaches. It was at that point I decided that perhaps the universe was trying to tell me something. It was not quite time to shave off the handlebar mustache just yet.

Of course, I’m uncertain that this will be a trademark of mine (though some already are telling me it unavoidably is). I may very well shave it off for the Ren Faire and Halloween next year, even if I do grow it out again in Movemeber 2015, but for now, the mustache remains–by popular demand. After all, mustaches do seem to be popular these days, and who knows how long their popularity will last? Of course, that’s not at all why I grew one out in the first place; I’ve just always wanted to try one out. Though, admittedly, this does seem to be the first time I’ve ever been in sync with a trend.

I suppose I may as well enjoy it, though I’m still going to grow out a beard to keep my mustache warm for the winter (it can get so cold and beards really do help). Though, as planned even before I considered shaving it off, in honour of Movember and in keeping the mustache around for a bit longer, I’ll be writing a blog piece this month for the care and maintenance for a handlebar mustache (as I understand it).



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