Everyone knows I hate cats. I don't like Mustangs, either (the car, not the animal). I don't like Crocs, Disney-themed clothing on adults, velour track suits declaring the physiological status of the wearer's vagina, belching or mommy bloggers. To this list of stuff I loathe, I would like to add Stephanie Meyer's abhorrent Twilight series and the fact that 90 of the 170 calories in a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg come from fat.
And as long as I'm narrowing the scope of friends I have not yet offended, I'm going to state here that I am not a fan of facial hair on men.
Generally speaking—and there are rare exceptions—I like a clean shave, and there is no mystery that my preference is directly linked to daddy issues. My father grew a beard during the years before he left my mother, a time in which he was already gone, even if his body and his beard were physically present. He had taken up the guitar back then, and he would sit on the living-room couch, his long body curved around and clinging to the neck as if it were a rescue tube, and he would strum out “Peaceful Easy Feeling” over and over and over again. You can put The Eagles on my Gong List, too.
My husband knows my position, and, over the course of our 13-year relationship, he's gone to great lengths to respect it. Though he also knows that if he wants to get laid, his chances—with me at least—decrease exponentially with each day the razor sits in its cartridge. The man makes his choices, and as he likes to say when soaping his face for a shave, “A happy life is a happy wife.” He really ought to write a book. Divorce rates would plummet.
His usually clean-shaven state is maintained out of a contractual agreement of sorts, in which I do not wear bangs and which has mostly worked well for us. With the exception of a time a few years back, when our marriage was in trouble and we engaged in a subliminal war of bangs vs. beard, I've kept my forehead uncovered and he's limited his facial hair to a soul patch.
However, this past winter, he stopped shaving, partly out of superstition—his football team was doing well and he didn't want to jinx it—and partly out of laziness. At which point, I just had to get over myself.
I didn't have the energy or the right, really, to complain. He does a lot around the house, and I figured he'd earned himself a beard. It's his face, I decided (I'm gracious like that), and he should do what he wants with it. And anyway, we're married-with-kid and I have to be honest here: We're the cliché. It's not as if we're having sex all the time and his incentive to keep up the upkeep was—meh. Sex as a tool is pretty ineffective when you're not having it. Go figure.
When his team eventually lost in the playoffs, he went for a shave at Barber Side on Adams Avenue and, happy that he was going to indulge himself while releasing the demon, I did an end-zone dance. But it was premature because what came of that shave—and the subsequent shaves—was a handlebar mustache. I'd almost rather pet a cat than look at a handlebar mustache.
But my husband is supportive of all my endeavors, even the cockamamie ones; the least I could do was attempt to be supportive of his. Sam was having fun with facial hair, and given that I can change my look with a sweep of Red Stiletto lipstick by Lancôme, it seemed only fair to let him do his thing.
So, I accepted the 'stache when it began to grow. I even acted enthusiastic on its behalf for a while, going so far as to express eye-rolling exasperation when he told me a regular customer had asked him, as if she didn't get his Halloween costume, “So, who are you trying to be?”
“Whatever,” I said, in solidarity. “Obviously, she doesn't get it.”
But soon he began to absentmindedly twist it when we were chatting. Sometimes he'd smooth it. Other times, he'd pet it. And then? He started to wax it.
It moved when he spoke, tickled my face when we kissed, and, well—I have officially confirmed that I am not at all interested in Frederic Nietzsche going down on me. I'm glad, though, to have resolved that life-long question. It was keeping me up nights.
So one morning as Sam was leaving for work, just after he'd set my daily cup of coffee on my nightstand, I didn't say, “Thank you” or “Have a great day, sweetie” or any of the kinds of things that would be appropriate for a woman to say to the man who goes to the store in the middle of the night to bring her back a package of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs.
No. I said—in what I thought was a very diplomatic and reasonable tone—“So, honey, tell me. How much longer is the 'stache gonna be with us?”
After that, it was ix-nay on the ustache-may conversation. Like a deviant teenager, I considered making a hair appointment to cut me some bangs while he memorialized the mustache when he renewed his driver's license. This thing just had to run its course.
In time, he headed to Barber Side and took off the ends, a happy compromise fully rewarded when we had frantic make-up sex in the backseat of my car. While it was parked in the garage. He pulled a hamstring, but still. He got laid. And I got my baby-faced boy in a mustache I can live with.
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