A kind friend sent me (re: stamps) pictures from the olden days of disposable cameras and drug store photo centers. It was a sweet gesture, and I had a lovely time strolling through memory lane.
That time I placed a pinata on my head! Oh! That time I sat sullenly on the couch in the background! Also, I discovered that collared shirts and sweaters are not my new adult look, but something I’ve been trying to pull off for nearly 25 years.
I THOUGHT I knew what I was in store for… but yet, I managed to find one small detail which even at this moment, I can’t decide if I buried the memory deep into my loins or if it simply was pushed out for more pressing items of note: Oceanography, Cha Cha Slide, Snap Chat Filters.
I forgot my precious mustache. My closest companion betwixt the tender ages of 12–15.
Now, of course I know I have a mustache, those follicles have not dissipated in the 20 years since I decided to take actions into my own hands. What I forgot was the extent of the ‘stache. As far as mustaches go… it was pretty feminine. Which is probably why I let that shit persist through my most awkward and formative years. Feminine, yes… but present, like a strong but determined drizzle on a dreary Monday morning. Less Tom Selleck more El DeBarge.
This was a mustache that didn’t yell at you, but instead whispered soft jazz in your ear. It wasn’t a statement, nor was it a suggestion. It was a serenade. The crystal figurine you would spend hours staring at on a shelf at your aunt’s house. My mustache was the friend that’s in all of your college pictures, but you can’t seem to remember her name. It was a touch on the shoulder accompanied by a quiet laugh. One word: ephemeral.
I was expecting to see my Bert (from Bert & Ernie fame) eyebrows in their full block-y glory, but my upper lip was a shock. And with that shock came waves and waves of memories of sight, smell and sound.
Sight: the blood from the cut on my lip when I attempted to scissor the thing off.
Smell: the sulfur of Nair wafting into my nostrils, and wondering if I was high.
Sound: actually no sound… the three “s” seemed dramatic and fitting.
Pictures after pictures of my handsome beauty flashed before me, until it was unceremoniously gone. Never to be seen in full bloom again. Now in my thirties, my eye is kinder. I see a happy kid with happy friends just trying to get through it. Its dawned on me that I was pretty lucky, while puberty gave me boobs and all the dangerous things that push little girls into the cruel world faster than they might want. It also gave me a mustache, a protective wrapping that allowed me to discover and unveil my comeliness at my own pace.
While I may not sport my old friend again, it was nice to be reminded of some of the unsung heroes who shaped me into the woman I am today. I salute you, Mustache, you done good.