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.