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Of Mustaches and Men — A Love Story

Image Credit: Jose Silva Galleries

What does it mean to live in full romantic partnership? What are the implications of being in love, of really and fully loving your partner, of committing to a shared life?

Does being gay change anything about that? Isn’t love always love?

I certainly have my own (very strong) opinion about that. I’m sure you can guess what it is.

I become frustrated and angry sometimes when I see people implying or plainly stating that we queer folk don’t experience love and commitment like straight, cisgender people do.

I know that I have loved.

I know my experiences are real.

May I tell you a silly story to illustrate my point?

Promise not to laugh at me?

Lenny had a fit the day I shaved my mustache off.

I was about 30 years old. The centers of my cheeks were still mostly peach fuzz. Disillusioned​ with my dismal lack of manly bristliness, I had for a few years cultivated a mustache.

Lenny was my husband, my lover. He was older, craggier, more sharp angled than I was. He looked like the Marlboro Man.

My mustache, however, was on the silly side. It wasn’t so much whiskers as it was really thick moss on a tree trunk. Seen in the right light, it disappeared.

I don’t know what possessed me that morning. I was shaving the bits of my face that actually needed it. I took a look at my lackluster upper lip, shrugged my shoulders, and sheared off the fuzz.

Took ten seconds.

Led to ten weeks of fighting.

Lenny and I learned a lot about each other in those weeks. My initial reaction was simple and uncompromising. It’s my body. My face. My mustache. You get zero say in how I shave. How dare you even mention it?

His reaction was hurt.

I loved your mustache. It was so cute on you. You had it when I met you and when we moved in together. How could you not even discuss it with me? Don’t you care how I feel?

It took us both a long time to even acknowledge that the other had a valid point. I know it sounds trivial, but this issue actually put our partnership in jeopardy.

We came close to splitting up.

It wasn’t about the mustache, of course. That pathetic patch of peach fuzz was just a proxy.

We were fighting about partnership. About what it means to merge lives. About what it means to care more about your partner than about principle.

It ended when I half grew the mustache back, and he picked me up, carried me to the bathroom, and shaved it off with his own hands.

That mustache taught both of us something.

If you aren’t laughing too hard at how foolish we were, maybe it’ll give you something to think about too.

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