This one time, I… Grew a mustache

Ever since I first viewed the phrase on a souvenir t-shirt in the Wisconsin Dells at a young age, one personal mantra – that I’d “try anything once” – has stuck with me. The mantra has resulted in experiences of varying degrees of success. [On a scale of 1-10: a night out at the race track (1), dating a woman (1.5), working as a magician’s assistant for a week (5), eating a fried cheese curd (10).] But no matter what the rating, each experience certainly taught me something new and did not result in life-threatening circumstances (with the possible exception of the excessive fumes and nightly crashes at the Lake Geneva race track).

Therefore, in the spirit of lifelong learning [all the rage in these recession-riddled days, I hear], arrives the latest installment of this blog: “This one time, I…” Here, I will recount something I did during that past week/month/unspecified period of time I’d never done before. With pictures. First-hand accounts. Maybe even video or animated GIFs (you could be so lucky). Finally, for you Thievy McMusicPirates out there, there will be themed music mixes. It will be fun, I promise: TAKE THE CANDY. So, without further ado…

I grew a mustache.

Well, to be completely accurate, I trimmed my existing facial hair (which tends to be quite bountiful) into a mustache. It was something that always seemed like a good idea at the time, but alas, I lacked the bravery to walk about town sprouting a cookieduster. A flavor saver. A mouth brow. Until recently.

The product of a curious Friday night trim session resulted in a weekend-long case study into the discrimination faced by sporters of the pushbroom.
The product of a curious Friday night trim session resulted in a weekend-long case study into the discrimination faced by sporters of the pushbroom.

As I stared back in the mirror at what I’d done, I wondered if friends would treat me the same. If passers-by on the street would gawk. If my family would still love me. With a deep sigh, I turned away from the mirror and headed out the door to face the world I expected to shun me and my facial transgression.

As it turned out, besides a startled baby and an overly-friendly bear bartender, my mustache did not result in any unusual treatment. In fact, I could feel peoples’ eyes look at me with a fresh curiosity, a stirring interest. Historically, commanding officers of the military; like General Lew Wallace; strangely appealing pop stars of the ’70s and ’80s; including Freddie Mercury and Frank Zappa; and eccentric filmmakers enjoyed a certain air of reverie surrounding their ‘stache-wearing ways. And the Mario Bros. had a pretty phenomenal run. Perhaps, based on the results of this study, it could be argued that the well-documented cultural enchantment with the mustache lives on to the present day. Therefore (this is the thesis):

Operation StacheGrow: A success. But would I do it again?
Operation StacheGrow = A success.

But, would I do it again, you ask? I can’t say I’d be in the quickest of hurries. In the end, my Diet Coke still tasted the same, the CTA was still dirty and the music in Boystown remained ear-bustingly loud. Despite the undeniable cult following my ‘stache enjoyed during its 2.5 days of existence, I still felt one pair of overly-large, “ironically-hip” glasses away from looking 100 percent creeptastic.

What I don't want to look like in fifteen years.
What I don't want to look like in fifteen years.

I’ll certainly keep it in mind if I ever become a pop star in need of a PR booster, a la John Oates’ “Ride the Mustache/J-Stache” campaign and its blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed and video series. Apparently Oates, er, J-Stache wants to “tame Leslie Feist’s shrew.” Which level of this statement do you find to be creepiest?

All told, I think this experiment has stirred a rediscovered admiration of the mustache to me. As the great lesbian philosopher Sheryl Concrowcious once said, “if it makes you happy, it can’t be so bad.” Despite carrying stigma in certain sub-communities, it has served as a symbol of manhood, virility and fuzziness for centuries – the first mustache – worn by a Scythian horseman – was documented in 300 BC. That’s before Jesus, therefore I believe it deserves our respect, honor and possibly its own religion. Or, at the very least, a photo montage. Below are a few of my favorite ‘staches through history, in addition to a little mini-mix for your ears (you know, the things on your face located directly to the left and right of your muzzy).

Discussion questions: Have you ever worn a mustache? Do you know someone who has? Do you plan to some day? Would you describe yourself as a Geraldo Rivera fan?

MUSTACHE MIX-A-LOT – A tribute to Nose Neighbors and Those Who Pull Them Off:

Download: Hall & Oates ‘Private Eyes’ (mp3)
Download: Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head ‘Beard Lust’ (mp3)
Download: SSION ‘Street Jizz’ (mp3)
Download: Islands ‘Creeper’ (mp3)
Download: Queen ‘Good Company’ (mp3)
Download: Patrick Wolf ‘The Hairy Song’ (mp3)

Or, download the whole mix.

FuManchu

fridakahlo mario

john-waters

john-oates

French fries causing all sorts of drama

This past week has seen an unusual amount of french fry-related incidents resulting in arrest. Perhaps people are just getting a bit tense under the pressure of meeting (or not meeting) new year’s resolutions?

* Thursday evening at a Florida McDonald’s, 75-year-old grandmother Jean Merola was arrested for disorderly conduct following an altercation with a police officer. Merola was waiting for her drive-through order to be completed when the police officer attempted to get Merola to move her car from allegedly blocking traffic. She was released from the jail after 90 minutes, and an apology has been issued to her by the Clearwater mayor.

* In Jacksonville, Fl., 31-year-old David Spillers caused $75,000 worth of damage to the neighborhood McDonald’s when he rammed his car into the restaurant, including sitting and children’s play areas, after receiving an incorrect order — missing two bags of fries — earlier in the day. He faces charges of felony criminal mischief and reckless driving.

* A man was stabbed in the back by another customer at a Serra Mesa, Ca., McDonald’s when he asked the restaurant’s managers to remove two potty-mouthed and aggressive teens that were disrupting lunch with his five-year-old daughter. The man has survived the wound and the assailant was found and arrested shortly after the incident.

At any rate, it would probably be a good idea to stay away from McDonald’s for a while, to avoid being arrested or shanked.

Arrest and stab wound-free.  She probably doesn’t eat much McDonald’s.

In other corporate conglomeration-related news, Heidi Klum was announced today as the face of the Diet Coke Red Dress Program, a new campaign partnering Diet Coke and the Heart of Truth in building awareness of heart disease among women. Klum will don a purty red dress to the Academy Awards presentation in February, with supporters of the campaign later being given the chance to later win the dress.

This partnership seems a little ironic to me at the moment, given the recent research findings that consumption of caffeinated beverages (such as Diet Coke) makes women particularly vulnerable to miscarriages. Hmmm.

On this cold, snowy day, I find myself craving a Diet Coke (and perhaps even a cheeseburger Happy Meal) on the eve of the beginning of my final semester of classes at UW. Twelve credits away from “freedom”, it is bittersweet. As much as I am looking forward to the prospect of financial freedom from more reliable employment and breaking into what I truly want to “do with my life,” the bubble of Madison has never felt more like a comfortable home. It is true, a large part of my heart will always remain in Madison, and particularly with those whom I have met here. Here’s to making this semester count.

And I leave you with an absolutely infectious track from French singer Julie Budet, who performs under the stage name of Yelle. Enjoy!

Download: Yelle ‘Ce Jeu’