November 16, 2011
In honor of Movember, a movement that appropriates the month of November with the growth of mustaches in order to raise awareness for prostate cancer and men’s health issues, I thought I would raise awareness to some of the experiences of growing a mustache.
Besides growing a mustache for a cause, as if that is the only reason, having a mustache offers an individual other benefits as well.
Growing a mustache is also a sure way to attract attention from others. Before I decided to grow my mustache I asked my female cousin’s advice on the decision. She told me that if a guy with a mustache tried to talk to her then she would ignore him and walk away. At least I’m in a woman’s radar as something to avoid, score. Afterwards when the first sproutlings of my growing mustache began forming in my otherwise bare face, I received many strange and long looks from people I met. One friend went so far as to get inside his car and drive away after seeing me with my mustache for the first time. He came back, but things were never the same. . .
So far the attention as been negative, but that’s only in the beginning stages. After you pass the stage of creepiness and ridicule, losing some friends along the way and scaring off some women and their children, things improve. These initial experiences humble you to an awareness of others. Feeling the sense of difference you portray with a mustache makes you aware of a few things as a result of these first experiences:
First, your mustache is an individual choice that exposes the bland regulating guidelines of appearance that some people use to judge who is acceptable and who should be avoided. Furthermore, realizing this, you begin to notice the individualism in others beyond these regulating functions. You are able to notice difference and diversity and embrace it because your difference resembles the differences of others that otherwise get ignored because of conventional standards of appearance.
Furthermore, once you embrace your mustache and your individual difference, it starts becoming a part of you and you begin getting compliments for it. I met a group of guys at Sharkeez in Huntington Beach and one of them told me, “man, I like your mustache, it’s brash.” Most of the time I am the opposite of brash: reserved, cautious, and quiet. But when I started thinking about this compliment I became aware of the fact that I was appearing bolder, more confident, and that it opened up the potential for me to let go of hesitations. I had to in order to accept the early hypnotic looks I seemed to arouse in that beginning stage.
Growing this mustache has made me more confident and expressive around others. But I can’t say it was only the mustache, it was the awareness having the mustache caused inside me that inspired these realizations.
In this month of awareness I want to invite you all to grow your own mustache, whether it is a literal one or through some other individual action, in order to raise awareness of yourself, and even if you cannot grow a mustache there is also No-Shave-November, a similar movement in which you don’t shave any hair in your body but instead allow all your natural difference to grow and flourish.
In this way we can all raise awareness of the issues that otherwise get ignored most of the time but that seem to affect us all.