Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Hairy Proposition

"You'll never catch me, Dudley! Mwuhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaahahaha!"

I often forget that Mike Coleman is a black man. Normally that would be a good thing. We need to live in a society where color doesn’t matter but in Mike Coleman’s case I don’t think about his ethnicity because of his mustache.

Some people think he looks like Lando Calrissian but I wouldn’t go that far. Lando was cool because he was played by one of the coolest men to ever walk the earth. A lot of guys can’t pull off the mustache without looking like they're trying to overcompensate. Billy Dee did. A lot of black men wear mustaches because Billy Dee Williams rocked it so well. If you’re trying to make the BDW connection with regard to Coleman’s creepy ‘stache you have to concede that he maybe looks like Williams’ gay second cousin from East Lansing. Coleman isn’t cool.

To me, Mike Coleman looks more like a villain from one of those silent movies. Every time I see this guy I wonder which railroad tracks he tied the girl to. Maybe that’s why I don’t ever think of Coleman as a black man…I see him in grainy black and white and when he talks I only her the clacking of an old projector barely drowned out by sinister music being played on a phonograph at the front of the theater. I’ve read that Coleman wants to raise our taxes and I think his mustache is a big reason I don’t want to give it to him.

Another mustache I’m really uncomfortable with is the one Brandon Flowers adorns himself with. The Killers’ front man looks like he’s trying to channel Freddie Mercury when he prances around with his 70s-ish arrangement. It doesn’t work.

I like Brandon fine. I enjoy a lot of The Killers’ music. I think they’ve gone a little too mainstream recently but I don’t begrudge them that. If they want to make some money, more power to them. Far better to sell out early than to do it after your hipster fan base has grown old, fat and encumbered by children. I think it’s pathetic to see some of these “alternative” acts bellying up to the retro trough. Sell out when you matter, load up the bank and then reinvent yourself. That's the way you do it. Do you hear me Smashing Pumpkins?

Still, Flowers is not Freddie Mercury. Nobody is. Freddie’s mustache looked terribly out of place as well but he’s the guy who stole ugly mustaches from porn stars and over-the-road truckers and gave them to gay men. Just because Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck didn’t have the good sense to give in and let them have it doesn’t mean other straight men should try to steal the look back.

Facial hair is a tricky maneuver that not everybody should be trying. Goatees and mustaches are especially difficult to negotiate because they require regular maintenance that is even more demanding than shaving. They’re easy to misalign. Too often people hold their faces differently when trimming their facial hair, failing to account for the natural position of their heads and the relaxed expression they normally carry. The result is fucked up.

Besides the logistical problems is the fact that too many mustaches and goatees are ironic. A lot of guys try to rock a little facial hair because they want to look manly but they only end up looking queer. There’s no such thing as gaydar but when a guy puts a little too much effort into his facial hair it’s a pretty good indicator that he likes penis other than his own.

The problem is that you can’t not put effort into a mustache or a goatee. If you get lazy you look like a trailer park leasing agent or a dump truck driver. You have to understand the balance between caring about your hair but not looking like you do. That’s where the manliness line is. Most people aren’t macho enough to pull off a mustache or a goatee.

Beards are much easier but you have to customize your beard to your personality. Don’t rock the full biker beard and commute on a Trek. You can’t grow one of those counter-culture Rastafarian beards and hold down a job at a Fortune 500 company. Your beard has to be who you are and it has to work on your face. If you have four chins you might want to forgo the tightly-trimmed jaw line tracer and if your facial hair grows as though you’re in the middle of a round of chemo, it might be best to stick with the baby face.

People are going to judge you by the way you wear your facial hair. There’s nothing wrong with that. Facial hair is a personal choice. If you choose to look like a gay man heading for a cabaret, don’t be surprised when some bear slips you a roofie and you wake up aching on both ends and if you want to raise my taxes, try shaving off that pencil-thin huckster ‘stache.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The truth about Mom and Dad

People often ask me, SteveVC, why do you hate your parents so much? The answer is that I don’t hate them at all. I absolutely adore them. Now that they’re in prison and can no longer torture and kill innocent pets and wayward hobos I’ve really come to respect and admire them.

My mom, whose real name is Eunice Blatz, has lived a hard life. She was cut out of the Blatz family fortune when her father married Tonya Harding and left the balance of the estate to her. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. Tonya inherited a 1975 Ford LTD with one headlight and a doublewide trailer in Muskegon Michigan, several rows up from the lake. Still, it was hard on my mom.

She worked in the fetish porn industry for a while before taking to the road with several other women who could queef on demand. They were called the Pussy-fart Dolls and they were big hits, touring the truckstop circuit of the southwest through the late 50s and early 60s, before they set up shop in a seedy little Hollywood Blvd dive that was later purchased by Johnny Depp and renamed The Viper Room. Rumor has it that the burlesque troupe that performed there took their name from an old poster that was in the dressing room. But they changed “fart” to “cat” since none of them were particularly good at queefing, although that changed when Nicole Scherzinger became the front woman.

Pregnant with me, my mom kept performing. My grandmother, who was a bouncer at the club, told me that I was technically miscarried four times, generally being ejected from my mother's uterus during the her show stopping rendition of Foxy Lady. They’d just stuff the fetal version of me back inside and mom would go back to work. I was none the worse for wear, but the doctor was a little disturbed to find cigarette butts, pull tabs and M&Ms in stuck to the placenta.

Growing up, my mom was truly attentive. She slept with one eye open all the time. It was a glass eye. She lost her real eye in a knife fight with a Mexican trucker who accused her of stealing his wallet with her vagina during a show. She always said “Big Eunice 2, wetback trucker1…hahahaha” when she talked about it. I never knew what she meant by that as a kid but I found out not too long ago that those ugly earrings with the lumpy gray pearls were actually his testicles.

Mom ruled the house with a firm hand and a lit cigarette. When I got out of line she’d burn me with that cigarette cackling, “You’ve come a long way baby!” I once made the mistake of correcting her for using the Virginia Slims tagline when her cigarette of choice was a Newport, which she developed a taste for in grade school when she dated a pimp from Detroit named Sugar Finger. Mom made me eat an ashtray full of cigarette butts, soaked me with lighter fluid and flung lit “strike anywhere” matches at me. After she depleted the whole box, the matches snuffing out before they hit me, she sent me up the road for a box of Garcia y Vega cigars and for the next six weeks I was punished with cheap stogies instead of the milder menthol cigarettes. There are still scars on my body that smell like burnt tobacco. Whenever I have to make a moral decision, I sniff one and think of my mom.

My dad was a cross between Al Bundy and Joe Jackson. He was an alternate on the 1960 curling team and desperately wanted his kids to achieve success where he had failed. Every morning we’d wake up at 3:00am and head outside to practice. 365 days a year. I say we because for a while I had a brother but one day he had the flu and couldn’t get out of bed. My dad canceled practice that day, drove us to Vermont and sold him to a maple syrup plantation. For all I know my little brother is still out there gathering buckets full of sap with a vicious Doberman tracking him, waiting for him to deviate from his route. I think of him whenever I have pancakes.

I had other siblings but they were lost along the way. During the winter my parents saved money by playing a game called Donner Party. When they first mentioned it I was excited because all I heard was the word “party”. I quickly learned what the Donner aspect was.

They never turned the heat on and during the day we’d get thrown outside in the snow. We did our best to keep warm but eventually your body just starts to shut down. Mom and dad would watch intently from the window, waiting. Waiting for one of us to succumb to the frigid air. When somebody finally fell to the ground, the victim of hypothermia, the game was over and we all went inside for dinner. A big dinner with all the trimmings and lots of fresh meat. I didn’t want to eat my baby sister, I swear I didn’t, but I was so very hungry and she was delicious.

Seven kids went into that family. One was sent to Vermont, I made it out alive. We ate the rest.

Anyway, Curling. Dad wanted me to be the best curler ever. Every day sliding rocks and sweeping. During the summer we did it in the back yard. Have you ever tried to curl on grass? It’s impossible, but after hundreds of vicious beatings I found a way to make it work. I was great.

The problem is that I had too much power on ice. By the time winter rolled around I was all yoked up for curling on grass and my control was off. I was blasting rocks through arena walls on the amateur circuit. I was sweeping the ice right down to the concrete floor. At the Outdoor Games in Saranac Lake one year, five people drowned when my aggressive sweeping cracked through the ice. It was a disaster. You might have seen it on George Michael's Sports Machine.

The International Curling Association reviewed my performances and insisted I was on steroids. I passed every test but they eventually banned me from competition because I was a danger to other competitors. I was told I could apply for reinstatement after 5 years but didn’t fit into my dad’s plans. He was crushed. I was supposed to bring home the gold. A five year suspension was out of the question.

I was kicked out of the family and forced to make it on my own. I dabbled in hook rugs, migrant working and gay porn before I made my bones in the fast food industry. After a few years out of the game, my curling form is manageable and I hustle fools on the weekends. I still have wicked power which comes in handy when people set up blocking stones. BOOM. Cleared the ice again. I’ve been thinking about going pro if I can get a work visa in Canada. People know me in curling circles. I’m a little old, but I’ve got mad skills.

My parents were arrested for plotting to assassinate Danny DeVito (It’s a long story, don’t ask.) and I reconnected with them at the trial. We vented our frustrations with each other. I bought my mom a few cartons of Newports to make up for all the cigarettes she crushed out on me and my dad is pretty happy that I’m a street curler. They probably won’t get out of prison alive. My dad will out last my mom by becoming somebody’s bitch (after all, that’s how he survived the marriage) but he’s not healthy. He used to freebase bacon and his heart is weak. Mom will get shanked within a year. She’s just not as quick as she used to be. Surly as she ever was, but the reflexes are shot.

Anyway that’s the story, I hope it explains where I’m coming from.