(On a sidenote, what's up with the Brits and their love of mustaches? I was googling the word "mustache" to try to find fun mustache websites to link to and I kept coming across all of these British sites. What's up with that?)
Anyway, the mustache I ended up with is sort of, well, ug, I guess. That's the best word I can use to describe it: "ug." Can you tell I miss my handlebars? They were just two little strips of hair that ran from the top of my lips to the bottom of my chin, (speaking of "ug," that description of my old handlebar mustache is, like, totally ug), and lots of people in the blogosphere thought I looked skeezy and John Holmes-y, but still: it was a look that I could commit to. The thing that's on my face right now, however, um, ug, this thing...is...not something I can commit to. Somehow it seems even more skeezy to me than the handlebar version did. Maybe that's because every time I accidentally see myself in the mirror with this 'stache, all I can think is ug and then I'm like: "Ug."
The weird thing is, several people saw me with the handlebar mustache out here in the real world. And though there was a sort of universal acknowledgement that it was kind of porny, I didn't really get much of an adverse reaction to it. People kind of liked it. And so did I.
But I'm all about trying New Things right now, so I decided to get rid of the handlebar, and I shaved off those little strips of 'stache "that ran from the top of my lips to the bottom of my chin." (Again with the ug.) And as soon as I shaved those little strips of 'stache, I started getting negative comments up the wazoo.
"Ew," said Jessica, my writing partner, the instant she saw my new 'stache. "Just, ew."
"What is that on your face?" said the six-year-old neighbor kid, when we passed each other in our front yards. Before I could answer her, she continued: "I don't like it." (Which is further proof that children really do say pretty much whatever the hell's on their minds.)
"Stop looking at me like that. I hate your mustache," said my friend Jake, when we...okay, actually, I made Jake up, there is no Jake. I was trying to prove a point and I didn't have any more people to quote because Jessica and the neighbor kid are the only people who really commented on my new lame mustache, and also I've always wanted to know someone named Jake. I've never known a Jake in my entire life, and it's such a cool name. Really--isn't it the coolest? I want to know someone named Jake. I do. I went to elementary school with a kid named Jacob, but that doesn't count because I never ever called him Jake. And I knew someone in college who changed his name to Jake, but that wasn't until after he moved away and became an international singing sensation, so that doesn't count either because I always knew that Jake as Jason. I've named several characters "Jake," but that obviously doesn't count because those people only exist in my head. Gosh, anyway, this is such a digression, but the point is that I want to meet someone named Jake, and soon. Because I feel like I'm missing out on something. Some Jakeness. Some Jakeability. And this Jake that I want to meet this year? His last name does not have to be Gyllenhaal--though Jake Gyllenhaal definitely has plenty of Jakeability, he wasn't on my mind when I began my whole Jake diatribe--I just think there's something about people named Jake, and I'd like to know a little bit more about what that something is. That's all.
Where was I? What was I even saying? Oh, right--mustache reactions I've heard on the street.
The two harshest things I heard people say were: "Is there a dead animal on your lip?" and "What have you done with Erik?" Okay, actually, no--I didn't hear anyone say these things, unless I'm allowed to count myself, in which case I heard one person say both of these things.
All of this is to say: I don't like my new abbreviated mustache.
Still, I wanted to take a picture of it so I could share it with you, my blogosphere. I got out the digital camera and I started taking photos and these photos were all terrible. Really bad. And as I was taking these photos, I actually had this thought: "Tyra is right. Modeling is hard." I swear to god I am not making this up for blog effect. That's what I stood there thinking to myself: "Tyra is right. Modeling is hard."
I was late to the America's Next Top Model party (the first cycle I saw was cycle four), but ever since I watched my first episode, I have been a total, complete, devout fan. (My other half, Uma, got me the first season on DVD for Christmas--well, she didn't really get it for me, but she kind of did by proxy--and I can't wait to watch it. Do not tell me who won. I actually don't know who the winner is and I don't wanna know until I hear Tyra telling her that she's America's Next Top Fucking Model.)
The amazing thing about the show is that they put together a group of unusual-looking women who generally do not take good photos at the beginning of the competition, and then they basically put these girls through modeling boot camp, and then, week by week, you see them getting better and better at their craft, and you start to realize that all of your preconceptions about models "being stupid" are totally dumb preconceptions, and you start to realize that maybe you're dumb and the model is art, and on top of all that, modeling is fucking hard.
So I take all of these pictures of my new mustache and I look at them and then suddenly I'm all WWTS? As in, What Would Tyra Say? And if she saw a proofsheet with these photos on them, I think she'd say something like:
"This was your best photo, Erik." And we'd all look up at the monitor and see the following:
And then she'd say something like:
"We looked through your whole proofsheet, and we honestly had a hard time even finding this one."
And then Nigel, who was the photographer for this shoot, he would mention that the other boys had all won extra frames, and I was the only one who didn't win any extra frames, and so I was at a disadvantage because I "really needed those frames more than anyone else."
And then Tyra would be like:
"Yeah, you really needed those extra frames."
And then they'd send us all out of the room while they made their decision. And while the judges were alone, they'd look at my whole proof sheet:
And Twiggy would mention something about how she's always loved my look, especially the mustache thing, because she likes that I have a very specific look, just like she had a very specific look when she invented the mod look. And then she'd say something like: "I think Erik is inventing the skeezy look." (The way she said it would sound really upper crust and dignified and everyone at home would take a moment to miss the brashness that was Janice Dickinson.)
And then Nigel would be dismissive and say that he's never understood what the other judges saw in me, and Miss Jai would snap her fingers, and then Tyra would say, "I think we have our decision, let's bring the boys back into the room."
And we'd all come back in, and I would be in the bottom two, again. And then Tyra would tell me:
"I see before me a boy who maybe wants to be here more than all of the other boys, but his pictures are lacking. At the start of this competition, he was fierce. He had fire. And though we still see that fire when he walks into the room, he doesn't bring it to his photo shoots. And he maybe has a mustache that some of us don't think he can pull off."
And I'd start sweating, certain I was going home. But then, in the last moment, she'd send the other dude home, and I would start crying as Tyra handed me my photo, and then she would tell me:
"We're gonna save you this time. But we want you to do better in your photo shoots. We believe in you."
And then as I'm walking over to the other boys to hug the loser, Tyra would say one last thing:
"And we want you to shave off your mustache."