I Could Grow A Moustache, I Could Be A Champion*

June 5, 2011

I’m ever vigilant for opportunities to add to my list of accomplishments. You know, new feathers for my cap and such.

Opportunity presented itself the other day as I read of some kid who, mere days ago, was declared a winner at the World Beard & Moustache Championships.

This seemed to be the kind of thing that is the calling of a select few – like climbing Everest or finding the image of Jesus in a grease spot on a pizza box.

And, best of all, unlike those feats, growing facial hair requires absolutely no effort, focus, or even consciousness from me. Even ordering a pizza demands some expenditure of energy.

However, in the time it takes to order, receive, and eat a pizza, my moustache would grow…well, it would be an imperceptible amount, but it’s still doing its thing at, I’ve read, the rate of one half inch a month.

There are numerous, intriguing categories in which to compete. In the partial beard division alone there is the Musketeer, Imperial, and the Alaskan Whaler.

These championships are held every two years so I have time to become a follicular force.

(Paloma has promised her full support)

For the moment, I’m leaning toward the Fu Manchu. Some fellow named Ted Sedman took the title at the 2007 championships in Brighton, England and I have already penciled him in as my latest arch-nemesis.

I figure that the Fu Manchu balances a sinister, malevolent vibe with a quiet, sinister dignity. I can imagine responding to the knock of the pizza delivery guy, throwing open the door, muttering something in an unintelligible growl, and pausing for a split second to offer a threatening scowl.

He would certainly flee in terror, unconcerned with payment, leaving me and my Fu Manchu to enjoy our free pie.

In the meantime, here are four songs from acts that come to mind when I consider who might be formidable bearded and/or mustachioed competition…

Bee Gees – You Should Be Dancin’
from Saturday Night Fever soundtrack

I was nine when Saturday Night Fever ruled the world. At the time, I couldn’t have cared less and was indifferent when I received the double album as a gift. I imagine that soundtrack was probably the default gift for a lot of folks that Christmas.

As for the movie – I didn’t see it until twenty years later. It was on late night television one night in a hotel in Stratford-On-Avon. I was trekking through the UK with two friends and had just returned to the room. I decided it was a good time to check it off the list.

I also knew that the aunt of another friend had worked on the lighting and appeared in the nightclub scenes. I immediately recognized her the moment she appeared on screen (though I’d never met her).

She resembled an older version of my friend in drag.

(and, as either gender, this friend wasn’t as dashing or as bearded as Barry Gibb)

The Call – Let The Day Begin
from Let The Day Begin

I can’t picture The Call’s late lead singer Michael Been and not think of him as the apostle John in the movie version of The Last Temptation Of Christ. Of course, I remember him as bearded in all of the pictures of the band, too, so he might be a strong posthumous contender.

As for the underrated The Call, the band had a strong following on college rock when I was smack dab in that format’s demographic. Let The Day Begin was probably their best-known song and the rousing anthem featured actor Harry Dean Stanton (who also appeared in The Last Temptation Of Christ) playing harmonica.

George Michael – Cowboys And Angels
from Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1

I’m not sure if there’s a stubble division among the beard and moustache aficionados, but the most famous facial scruff of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s had to have belonged to George Michael (toppling Miami Vice’s Don Johnson from his pedestal).

The dreamy Cowboys And Angels appeared on Listen Without Prejudice, Michael’s follow-up to the mammothly successful Faith. Faith wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I thought that the more introspective and downbeat Listen Without Prejudice was glorious and near perfect.

Kenny Loggins – This Is It
from Keep The Fire

I wouldn’t describe myself as a fan of Kenny Loggins, but This Is It served as the theme of the NCAA basketball championship at a time when the tournament was beginning to really capture the public’s imagination, so, that is certainly noteworthy.

Also, the bearded Loggins was accompanied on the song by Michael McDonald on background vocals, making This Is It a two-for-one in the musicians’ pantheon of facial hair.

*originally posted on May 24, 2009

Let’s Make Money, Let’s Grow Hair

August 22, 2009

Sally Struthers used to show up on my television, waddling amongst throngs of starving children in Third World countries. She also used to appear to inform me that we all want to make more money.

Aside from discovering oil (a la Jed Clampett), getting a government bail-out, or sitting on the board of Haliburton, there seems to be one thing that would make anyone wealthy beyond their wildest dreams…

…finding a cure for hair loss in men.

Aside from pills to abate maladies like restless legs and dry eyes, there is also an endless array of remedies bandied about by late-night television hucksters to achieve this end. Is such an elixir truly out of the grasp of modern medicine?

Hey, I’m no scientist (even though I do have a lab coat which doubles quite nicely as a robe), but it’s 2009. How difficult can it be to grow hair?

It seems inconceivable when I think about my years as a single male and the times when I have had male roommates. In such situations, I have seen amazing things grow in unbelievable settings.

Seriously, a bachelor’s living quarters is a science experiment onto itself.

I remember waking one morning in college, bleary-eyed, and stumbling into the kitchen for some Cocoa Puffs. Above the kitchen cabinets, a dark cloud of gnats flew in formation. I clambered onto the counter and peered above the cabinet to discover the source of their interest.

I found a large blob of brown matter which I ascertained had, in a previous life, been a bunch of bananas.

Another time, foraging for sustenance, I foolishly opened the bottom compartment of our refrigerator. There was nothing there but a two-inch thick colloid that could best be described as black Jell-O.

I went hungry.

OK. So reducing potassium-laden fruit to inedible bio hazard or creating a jiggly substance that would cause Bill Cosby to recoil isn’t exactly splitting the atom, but it should illustrate my point – somewhere, in the wilds of some apartment inhabited by single men, hair is growing on something.

I know it.

All it takes is someone with the vision and intestinal fortitude to search – possibly in a kitchen, perhaps in some dank shower – for an item sprouting fuzzy, hair-like follicles where none were before.

Once such a miracle of life is uncovered, it’s simply a matter of reverse engineering, submitting a patent application, and slapping a marketable name on your snake oil.

It’s certainly a more direct path to amassing a small fortune than relying on a late-night infommercial degree in welding (no matter what Sally Struthers might contend).

The Who – Cut My Hair
from Quadrophenia

America – Sister Golden Hair
from Hearts

The Heads (with Ed Kowalczyk) – Indie Hair
from No Talking, Just Head

Everclear – Short Blonde Hair
from Songs From An American Movie, Vol. 2: Good Time For A Bad Attitude