by Brendan Way
It’s ironic that, for the last few decades at least, the way teenagers have chosen to change their appearance in order to not conform has remained the same. People hit adolescence and how do they mark this significant momentous time of their life? By getting a tattoo, having something pierced, or doing mad things with their hair. My parents and their generation did it, and now my lot are too. Indeed, this summer, not wanting to waste this opportunity in which you have licence to go a little crazy, I too did something pretty radical: I grew a moustache.
Now, this may not sound particularly exciting or adventurous, but bear in mind that I’m a punctual nice middle class boy who used to play Badminton over the washing line in the back garden – this is the closest to rebelling or acting out I will ever get. Narcotics and motor bikes have no appeal to me and I’d rather have a little bit of cider on a Sunday afternoon picnic than go out and drink loads on a Saturday night. Trust me, it’s surprising that I’d even attempt to picture what I’d look like with a bit of facial fluff, let alone actually grow some.
Another reason I wanted to try it out though was that, since birth, I more or less have rocked the same look I always have: dark wide eyes, thick eyebrows, and a thin mop of brown hair. This means my appearance has not changed since 1992. Consequently, even though I’m twenty, I frequently get asked for ID in bars (yes, I do go to some occasionally; I’m a student. It’s what we do). A moustache would stop this happening by aging me up a few years. For this alone, it would be worth it.
Of course, before it’s fully grown, the little straggly patches of hair above my upper lip actually create the opposite effect by making me look even more like an adolescent who’s not yet mature enough to be eating with the grownups. Alas, this is just an obligatory stage you have to go through on the path to true moustache-dom.
Except mine never really filled in in the middle. Yes, I had two distinct fuzzy stripes under my nostrils, but they never met up and merged into one. I had the sort of moustache a top-hatted villain with a cape would be proud to twirl in a Victorian melodrama. No wonder a friend of mine said it made me look like the creepy cousin of Super Mario Brothers’ Luigi.
Not all of the responses to the new addition to my face were negative though. A couple of my pals liked it. One even remarked that it made me look as if I’d finally gone through puberty. Result! That’s exactly what I wanted.
It never really felt like mine though. Having lived so long with a naked face (so to speak), it was strange to see my moustache each morning in the mirror. To me, it didn’t look like it was attached, but merely floating above my skin. Conversely, when I finally shaved it off to officially mark the end of my summer holiday, upon seeing my old visage after so many months, I was struck by how much space there is between my nose and my lip.
That’s the beauty of rebelling by growing a moustache, I guess – it’s so easy to get rid of. Whilst piercings have to close up, tattoos only come off with lasers, and head hair gradually reverts to its natural colour and shape in a matter of weeks, a bit of face fur can be taken off in a couple of minutes. It also doesn’t take too long to regrow either…
Yes, that’s right, I haven’t ruled out bringing it back. Until I decide whether I will though, I’m happy to look younger than I am. I’m an actor, after all. With a face like mine, I can play young punks into my forties and enact the type of pubescent hi-jinks I’ve previously avoided. Not only then can I have my cake and eat it too, I can have it whilst staying up way past my bedtime because that’s how wild I am. After all, in my youth, I grew a moustache.
If you’d like to grow a moustache, Movember is the perfect excuse.
Running from November 1st-30th, the event raises awareness and funding for testicular cancer.
To sign up, or find out more, please visit the official Movember website.