My Moustache is currently celebrating his first birthday, and so it seems like an apt occasion to look back over our first year together. Hopefully, my experiences may be of help to those caring for new-borns in this, the moustache season of Movember.
As a new parent with relatively little experience in these things, it has been a hectic year. Certainly it has been a wonderful experience, full of joyous moments as I noticed slight developments and maturations in my moustache, as he grew and his character developed. As with any parent, I glow with pride as I reminisce about this year's highlights; the first compliments he received, his first haircut, and his first kiss.
However, it has also been a steep learning curve. There have been, quite literally, close shaves; and his confidence has been knocked at times when somebody has laughed in his face, screaming "Call that a moustache?!?" The adolescent period was certainly a struggle, full of angst, arguments and solvent abuse - a bottle of hair dye which led to horrific clashes with his siblings, the eyebrows. The embarrassment only faded with time (and repeated washing).
It seems like only yesterday when, at the age of 23, I took my first timid steps into the world of facial hair. "You're playing a man's game now son, there's no room for error." My father's advice stayed with me, resurfacing every time my top lip didn't look tip-top. Whenever I gave my moustache a stroke and felt how young and slight he was, I remembered with shame the hairy slug my own father has had ever since before I was born.
But a year it has been, and Movember is on us again. All around me I see new parents with new baby moustaches. Are they receiving the support and encouragement that they need in these testing few weeks? Whilst some are bold, hirsute handlebars from the word go; other moustaches are stubborn stubble that require coaxing and encouragement.
My concern is for these Movember participants that become highly embarrassed by their slow-sprouting moustaches, those that anxiously glance in shop windows to try in vain to discern definition and hair density. They fuss and they worry: is he getting along with the other moustaches? Is he the right size for his age? Are the bigger moustaches going to bully him? Are the ladies going to take to him, or are they going to be prickled by his prickliness?
I know these worries because I have been through them. Even though my 'tash is now one of seniority and sagacity (ahem!), I have played host to the pangs of despair, and have spent hours staring into the bathroom mirror straining my top lip in an effort to increase the rate of growth. I too have been there, shrinking back into the corner of the pub after a big brute, overflowing with testosterone, compared his philtrum forest to my feeble fuzz.
My advice to those who, like I did, find themselves in this emasculating position is, "stay in there, buddy, your time will come!" You and your timid 'tash are not alone, there are others out there who are suffering too. Don't be overwhelmed by those parents who regularly post "Hey, check out my awesome tash" updates, that bray with jocular ebullience, that go on and on about how "Hemingway" their moustache is.
Understand that the world today is a difficult place for moustaches to be born into. Young moustaches everywhere are subjected to pressures to be manly and to grow up before their time. These pressures, if not handled correctly, can wreak havoc with one's confidence. It is up to us parents to take time to nurture our moustaches, and to develop a bond of understanding between parent and child.
Ultimately, a moustache is a thing of sophistication, and maturity; of subtlety and patience. Remember, a moustache is for life, not just for Movember.
Follow Alex Bowell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alexbowell