My husband, bless his soul, has figured out a unique and effective way to guarantee social distancing. He has grown a mustache. While I believe that I’m as affectionate as the next guy, it’s hard to arouse enthusiasm about puckering up when I feel I’m about to kiss my hair brush.
I think it’s only fair to mention how it started. My husband had some minor surgery above his upper lip and wasn’t able to shave for about a week. But then the week turned into two. I knew I was in trouble when I spied him gazing into the bathroom mirror and cooing softly as he stroked his newly acquired stubble.
I admit it. I’m having a hard time getting used to the new him. Although he’s been cultivating it for several weeks now, I often startle when he walks into a room. Fortunately, I recover just in time to refrain from dialing 9-1-1 to report a break-in. Who are you and what have you done with my husband? At other times, I’m convinced that I’ve inadvertently channeled Groucho Marx.
Men who sport facial hair, please don’t take offense. For some, mustaches work very well. Like, if you happen to be a Mexican revolutionary, or a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher who operates a meth lab in an old RV.
I guess it’s all about what you’re used to, and I’m definitely not acclimating well. I’ve been with this man for over 40 years, and he’s never had more than a two-day growth.
However, there was a brief moment in time many years ago, when he did grow a beard. He shaved it off rather quickly though, after he was approached by several men in long black coats who addressed him as “Rabbi.” Not that he has anything against rabbis, or men in long black coats, for that matter. I think it was more of a concern that they would ask him for some profound interpretation of the Talmud, or if he was available to perform a bris. Neither of those requests was he equipped to handle.
I hope, like the beard, the mustache passion will quickly fade. But I’m not so sure. Lately, he’s taken to tenderly grooming it, then proudly pointing out the results of his tonsorial dexterity. I confess I am not enthusiastic in my admiration.
Because of the mustache, I have begun worrying about things I’ve never before considered. Potential mustache hazards. Like, what happens when men with mustaches eat soup? Or worse, what if a man with a mustache gets a really bad cold. And sneezes. How do you blow your nose with a mustache? Does “it” land on the hair above the upper lip? And what if there’s a nose bleed? These gross thoughts have begun to keep me awake at night, while he and his mustache are peacefully asleep.
So what does sporting a mustache say about a man? Is it masculinity and power? Is it his hipness, or perhaps even a fashion statement? Can I blame it on the coronavirus?
I realize that men are more limited than women when it comes to opportunities to alter their appearance. They are rarely spotted at a cosmetics counter in Bloomingdale’s getting a complete makeover. And growing a mustache is a lot less expense than spending hundreds of dollars on products and promises.
I have to reread our pre-nup. I’m pretty sure there was a clause that stated I relinquish my right to the TV remote control. And he relinquishes his right to grow facial hair. But I could be wrong.
If this fixture upon his face becomes permanent, or even semi-permanent, I suppose I’ll have to change my attitude and my outlook. My associations with mustaches will have to become more positive. Less about Stalin, Hitler, and porn stars, and more about Teddy Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, my very nice next-door neighbor, or The Village People. In fact, there may just be something in this for me. If he’s going to walk around resembling Sonny Bono, perhaps I should start dressing like Cher!
And so we begin a new chapter in our forty-year marriage. And I hope it’s a short one. One that closes before he starts to resemble Yosemite Sam, or I develop a rash from kissing a Brillo pad!