Photo by Ryan Whitefield, ’10 BA
Some wax enthusiastic, some bristle at the prospect. The moustache divides the world neatly into champions and skeptics just as it divides a face neatly into upper and lower halves. A person can be apathetic about beards or goatees or sideburns, but the moustache — thrusting itself upon our attention, demanding judgment — inspires passion.
Since the rise of the Movember movement, November has become the month to get your grow on. For the unwary, this is an enterprise fraught with peril; consider Justin Bieber’s ill-fated 2013 attempt at moustache panache, described by The Guardian newspaper as “three days that shook the world.”
The world in 2017 is shaking enough. Tyrel Brochu, ’06 BCom, owner of a most magnificent moustache, offers five tips for living while moustached.
1: Develop a grooming routine that works for you
The world is overgrown with moustache connoisseurs and once you begin down the path to moustachedom, lip-hair advisers will start popping out of the woodwork. One will claim that a certain wax is the only one to use; another will say regular trips to a specialist barber are required. Sample these suggestions freely, Brochu says, but never forget that each moustache is unique. What works for others might not work for you.
Brochu’s own routine, developed over months of trial and error, includes trimming once a week with scissors and once every three weeks with a razor. He shampoos, conditions, gels and waxes it every two days. And he has learned the hard way that wax needs to be warm when applied, or it will form clumps that can look distressingly similar to boogers.
2: Notify your loved ones
There’s no way around it.
“Kissing would be easier without a moustache,” Brochu says. “But that’s not reason enough to shave it off.”
Still, if you (or your partner) are having visions of a hairier visage, it’s a good move to discuss it before things get serious with either the follicles or the romance. While unilateral moustaches are probably not good for relationships, he says, neither is giving your partner veto power over your upper lip.
3: Dangerous dining
As it grows, your moustache is likely to complicate how you eat. Brochu has found two dishes, in particular, are apt to get too friendly with his facial follicles: pizza and ice cream.
The obvious solution for ice cream is to order it in a bowl. But since that would mean forgoing the waffle cones he loves, Brochu asks for a spoon with the cone. Eating an ice cream cone with a spoon might attract curious looks, but if curious looks are daunting, you need to ask yourself if you’ve got what it takes to be moustached.
For pizza, Brochu has three strategies. The most formal is the knife-and-fork approach. If the slice is big enough, he’ll fold it in half, New York-style. And for smaller slices, he will press two pieces together with the toppings in the middle. Eating two slices in place of one does put upward pressure on his pizza consumption, but this is but one of the many sacrifices he is willing to make on behalf of his ’stache.
4: Carry a handkerchief in the winter
Brochu commutes by bike. When he rides in cold weather, the vapour in his breath accumulates in his moustache. Things can get wet and wild as it returns to room temperature. A tissue or paper towel will do in a pinch, but Brochu says there’s nothing quite like a pocket hanky for mopping up.
5: Don’t expect to be an overnight sensation
Steve Jobs famously said: “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” He could have been speaking of moustaches. It took Brochu — whose moustache is so luxurious that strangers often ask if it’s real — five months of disciplined growth to reach Peak Moustache.
Things may seem dark when you are in the throes of those growing pains, but the effort is worth it, says Brochu. His moustache has become an indispensable part of the trend-setting personal style on which he prides himself. (Plus, in November, at least, it’s for a good cause.)