An Award-Winning Disclaimer

A charming little Magpie whispered this disclaimer into my ear, and I'm happy to regurgitate it into your sweet little mouth:

"Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for those of you who start to laugh and piss your pants a little. Although this blogger understands the role he has played (in that, if you had not been laughing you may not have pissed yourself), he assumes no liability for damages caused and will not pay your dry cleaning bill.

These views represent the thoughts and opinions of a blogger clearly superior to yourself in every way. If you're in any way offended by any of the content on this blog, it is clearly not the blog for you. Kindly exit the page by clicking on the small 'x' you see at the top right of the screen, and go fuck yourself."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm One of Them

It's official: I've joined the ranks of the mustachioed.

Granted, I'm growing it for The Pirates of Penzance, but that doesn't alter the fact that there's a Rip Van Winkle ferret, snoozing beneath my giant proboscis. It's no child-molester or Hitler mustache-- that would be more of a rat or a hamster. This bad boy is definitely a ferret, sweeping all the way down to my jaw-line.

Oh, I've also got huge fucking mutton chops, too.

The show doesn't open until just before Thanksgiving, so I'm going to look like this for a while. I was wearing a full beard up until last night, but I felt compelled to shave down to what I intend the Major-General to look like, so the director can tell me if she likes what I've done because, if she doesn't, I kind of have to start from the beginning.

I hope she likes it.

She should, because from photographs I've seen of other Major-Generals, both Gilbertian and real Civil War-era ones, I pretty much look the part. Except that, no matter how Victorian I style my facial hair, I still look like a big Jew, which most Major-Generals and Civil War generals didn't.

But I can't help that. Maybe our make-up artist can, but I have my big Jewish doubts.

Ever since college when I appeared as Deputy Governor Danforth in our regrettable and obligatory production of The Crucible, I've grown my own facial hair for roles when required. Sure, I could use the fake stuff, but anybody who's ever had fake staches and beards applied with spirit gum will understand when I evoke the hallowed phrase, "Never Again." Aside from the fact that that spirit gum shit is terribly painful and nearly impossible to get off, you spend the entirety of your time on-stage worrying that the false hair is going to fall off during a pivotal moment. I can remember appearing in a high school production of Kiss Me, Kate adorned with a fake mustache, and unconsciously touching it the whole time I was on-stage, just making sure it was still affixed. Not good.

And so, once I could grow my own, I reasoned, why the hell would I ever use fake facial hair again? It's like stuffing clementines in your shorts when you've got a 14-inch dong, a situation I have never needed to ponder in any realm save the hypothetical.

Of course, the bitch about real facial hair is that you can't just wear it to rehearsals and performances-- you're stuck with it. And your wife is stuck with it. Last night, upon returning home from her art class she saw me and exclaimed, "Oh, noooooo! You're going to look like THAT for my birthday pictures?!!!"

Oops.

They say that artists suffer for their art, but, at times like these I am reminded that their spouses invariably suffer more. Fortunately, I'm not a real, professional artist, so my wife will never have to suffer the indignities of having our electricity shut off, or me flying to L.A. sixty-eight times a year, or appearing in commercials for Preparation-H. She just has to put up with me looking like Ambrose Burnside for two months.

Fortunately, when we woke up this morning, she didn't look over at me and scream and, when she left for work, she gave me a kiss-- so I think it's all going to work out.

There is a definite anti-mustache sentiment in pop culture these days, or perhaps I should say "these centuries." Eyeglass shapes come and go with regularity, round to square to rectangle to round again-- waistlines go up and they go down, men's suit jackets haven't changed much in a hundred years, except when lapels got as big as airplane wings in the 1970s because everybody was on drugs, but the mustache hasn't been regarded as anything less than creepy since maybe 1910. They weren't seen practically at all in the 1700s-- can you imagine George Washington or Mozart in a broached 3/4-length coat, powdered perriwig, white stockings, buckled shoes.... and a mustache? They wouldn't have known what to do with them. Do we powder them? I mean, Christ, they put wigs over perfectly good hair-- would mustaches have required wigs, too? Talk about a dilemma.

Then, in the 1860s, there was a mustachioed turning point: we didn't trust a Civil War officer higher than the rank of colonel unless he had abundant fur sprouting out from some of the most dubious facial locations. I suppose, if you were going to lead men to their certain deaths, the thinking was: you'd goddamn well better look like a man yourself.

There's a great line in "The History Boys." A young, fresh-faced teacher is brought in to tutor a class of genius slackasses in preparation for their entrance exams and interviews at Oxford and Cambridge. The teacher has a brief tete-a-tete with the arrogant, priggish headmaster who looks him up and down and declares with dismay, "You're very young." He then ends the meeting with a stern piece of advice,

"Consider growing a mustache."

Later in the play, the headmaster explodes at the teacher for having spoken of the Holocaust in a controversial manner, in an attempt to get his boys to think past cliche. As the headmaster is about to stride out of the room, he glares at the teacher unhappily and says,

"Didn't I suggest that you grow a mustache?"

Of course, the headmaster in this play is stuck in an era where a mustache commanded respect and possibly reverence. Today, it incites ridicule and contempt, and it evokes strong negative responses in people, which I suppose I'll have to endure until the curtain comes down on Pirates.

But at least I don't have to look at it.

5 comments:

  1. Have you heard of "Movember"? It's when men and women alike grow moustaches in November to raise money and awareness for men's health. I've always worried I'd look like a pervert with a 'tache, so I am full of respect that you would grow one for your role in "Pirates" -- that is true dedication to your art.

    If I had to grow a moustache, I think I'd try to look like Lord Kitchener -- that really is a 'tache to command respect.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Holy shit-- Kitchener's ferocious fur is definitely something to aspire to. W. S. Gilbert's 'stache, though no slouch, was comparitively modest in comparison to Kitchener's.

    Like I said, though, I just look Jewish.

    I'll look into Movember. At the end of November, do I have to shave it off and mail it to the United Prostate Fund or something weird like that?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I disagree- I think the mustache is having a little revival. Although it is in a hipster, ironic kind of way. That probably doesn't help.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Pics!

    (Incidentally, having to fill in the anti-spam prevention text EVERY time is really tiresome.)

    ReplyDelete

Got something to say? Rock on with your badass apron!