November 30, 2010

How Growing a Mustache Changed My Life

Growing a mustache is a lot like having a kid—it's a life-altering experience that teaches you about love, heartbreak and teeny, tiny combs. When I set off on this quest, I was young, immature, irresponsible and reckless. Just 30 days and one thick lip-sweater later, I can honestly say I've changed.

Now I'm young, immature, irresponsible and reckless ... and mega-handsome.

In the beginning, I knew there would be risks. After only three days of growth, my sisters-in-law called me out on Facebook: "I seriously can't believe that's all u have. Thought for sure it'd grow faster" and "I agree with Mel, I thought it would be full by now." How could they expect me to grow a mustache that fast? Was I letting them (and everyone else) down? After hours of contemplation, I could come up with only two possible explanations:  Either 1) They were kidding around or 2) Their leg hair must grow at a ridiculously fast pace. To this day I'm torn between the choices.

There were other hurdles as well. Every morning we had to set aside 25 seconds for my beautiful wife to take my daily head-shot photo. This eventually turned into a 6-minute affair because both girls wanted to be in the picture with me. They'd stand on each of my sides, lean against the faded yellow dining room wall, smile big, look right at the camera and saying "CHEESE!" Of course, neither seemed to realize that my wife had the camera pointed at my head—and they weren't actually in the photo. But that didn't mean they weren't a valuable part of my morning ritual. They were overjoyed to be included in my mustache journey, and I was overjoyed to have them along.

My work life changed a bit too. Coworkers who stopped by my cube on a regular basis were now bringing friends to catch a glimpse of the spectacular-ness of my face. Some chatted up mustache etiquette while others shared stories of family members who had grown their own "mos." All of them, though, would stick around for a few extra minutes to see if my mustache did anything magical, like curl before their very eyes or transport us both to one of those calming, beach-themed Corona commercials. Nearly always, it did—and they walked away impressed.

Over the past month, I've learned a lot about myself. I learned how to set goals and stick to them, a quality I hope to pass on to my kids. I learned that my wife will still love me, no matter how ridiculous—or, in this case, awesome—I look. Most important, I learned that I have wonderful friends, family and Life of Dad fans who took time out of their busy schedules to "like" my mustache updates on Facebook, send me supportive comments and e-mails, read my mustache posts and compare my face to that of a budding young porn star. For all of these (and all the other support you always offer), I will forever be grateful.

This concludes my month-long Movember quest to grow a mustache and raise money/awareness for Prostate Cancer (if you haven't already, there's still time to make a tax-deductible donation to my team). It's been a lot of fun and I hope you were able to get a few laughs out of it as well. Tomorrow is shaving day and my face will return to its normal level of awesomeness. (I know, I know—my eyes are tearing up at the thought too.)

In these final hours before Hector is set free to go and grow into a full beard and make some other family happy (yep, I named the mustache Hector), I'm reminded of a classic mustache-shaving song that's stood the test of time to become one of the greatest mustache-shaving songs of all-time: "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men.

"Although we've come
To the end of the road.
Still I can't let go.
It's unnatural.
You belong to me.
I belong to you."

So long, my friend. Until we meet again in Movember 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Missed my daily Movember progress and diary? Check it out by visiting
the About Movember tab at the top or by clicking here
The Life of Dad is updated every week. Thanks for stopping by and following my attempts to be a good dad, husband and co-ed softball player. I hope you visit again. -- Brian

November 19, 2010

Growing a Mustache: The Second Trimester
(and How to Create a Mustache Registry)

Now that I've made it through the first trimester and have told my boss that I'm growing a mustache, I'm starting to feel more confident. I'm smiling more. Some may even say I've developed a special "glow" that follows me around. If those people got closer they'd realize it's actually a gas cloud.

For the most part, my early symptoms are gone and I've moved into the second trimester. I'm now experiencing sudden bursts of energy, which I use to point at myself in the mirror and wink. My muscles are growing—a side bonus that comes with a mustache—and my voice, which has always been a solid baritone, has dipped into Barry White territory.

It's not all fun and games, though. I'm moodier. I'm over-emotional. I have to pee A TON. The rest of my face, who originally were excited and star-struck by the presence of the mustache, are now resentful of the special attention it gets and no longer talking to it. In fact, the only facial feature still willing to mingle with my mustache are my nose hairs—and that's because they have no other friends.

But I prefer not to focus on the negatives, especially when a party is in the horizon!

During the second trimester of the mustache, it's common for friends and family to want to throw you a Mustache Shower. A Mustache Shower is a party where folks "shower" you with gifts to help you care for and raise your mustache. Sometimes the host of the Mustache Shower will provide hors d'oeuvres or sometimes a full meal—either way, you can generally count on a pork product of some type.

In order for folks to know what to buy, I decided to start a Mustache Registry. I searched the Web for practical ideas, but there were no lists to be found. Not a one. After hours of research I became convinced that the U.S. government banned all online mentions of a Mustache Registry (thanks a lot, Patriot Act!). Still unsure of what I needed, I turned where everyone turns when they need help answering a question that only the most brilliant of minds can answer: Facebook.

Thanks to my social network, I came up with a killer list. And even though I may get flogged by the feds, I thought it was only right I took a stand and shared it with everyone (in case you're invited to my Mustache Shower).

Brian's Mustache Registry:
  • Mustache comb
  • Mustache trimmer
  • Long, fluffy robe
  • Massage oils
  • Shag carpeting
  • Aviator glasses
  • Powder Blue Leisure Suit
  • A bearskin rug and a cigarette
  • NRA Membership
  • Shoulder holster with Gun
  • Tight Jeans
  • Trucker Hat
  • Unibomber hooded sweatshirt
  • Patent Leather Platform Shoes
  • Trench coat that opens and closes quickly (I didn't even know they came with that option!)
  • Velour Jogging Suit
  • Razors
  • Hawaiian shirt and Detroit Tigers hat
  • Flannel
  • Coach Shorty Shorts
  • A Subscription to Hustler
  • Leather vests
  • Brown bell-bottom corduroy suit, with mustard paisley shirt
  • A Chicago Accent (Wonder if Rosetta Stone can teach me to say "Da Bears")
  • Smokey and the Bandit DVD, collector's edition
  • Hulkamania do-rag
  • Nintendo Wii (it's about the only way my wife will allow me to get one)
The reality of the mustache has really hit me. All joking aside, it's a life-changing event that can't be taken lightly—nor should it. It's not a right, it's a privilege—and a big responsibility.

If only growing a mustache were as easy as raising kids.

Anything missing from my list that you think should be on a Mustache Registry? Add it in the comments section.

Also, don't forget to check out my daily progress and diary by visiting
the About Movember tab at the top or by clicking here.

Reasons Not to Grow a Mustache:  
You suffer from a severe case of Folicuphobia: a fear of mustaches. It's not recognized by most medical journals, but hey, what do they know.

Reasons to Grow a Mustache: 

The Life of Dad is updated every week. Thanks for stopping by and following my attempts to be a good dad, husband and co-ed softball player. I hope you visit again. -- Brian

November 12, 2010

How to Tell Your Boss You're Growing a Mustache

It can be a difficult task telling your boss and coworkers that you are growing a mustache. When you do share the news, most of them will be happy for you, saying things like "Congratulations!" and "Your wife must be so excited!" and "Was this planned?" But they will undoubtedly start to consider how this may affect them, so you will need to take several things into consideration before letting everyone in the office know that, by the end of the month, you'll be the proud father of a glorious mustache.

To help with this, I've developed list of the three most Frequently Asked Questions, along with answers, on how to tell your boss and coworkers that you're growing a mustache.

FAQ#1: When is the right time to tell?
It's a general rule-of-thumb for men to wait until after the first trimester to share the news, when the risk of Turns-Out-I-Can't-Really-Grow-A-Mustache-Even-Though-I-Thought-I-Could- Syndrome (also known as "CantGrowNoMo") passes. If you are dealing with a bad case of CantGrowNoMo, you'll likely be very emotional. It may be in your best interest to take a day or two off work and come to terms with the fact that you may never be able to grow a mustache. And, if need be, search the phonebook for local CantGrowNoMo support groups.

When the first trimester ends and you've established some healthy mustache growth (and are confident a full mustache is imminent), it may be time to spread the news.

FAQ#2: What if the boss asks before I'm ready to tell?
Most members of management are taught not to ask questions like this and to be sensitive to their employees' personal lives. Occasionally, though, a boss may slip—I mean, hey, bosses aren't perfect (Except for mine. She's perfect. She's totally perfect. She couldn't be more perfect if she tried. Have I told you how perfect you look today, boss?). In the event your boss mistakenly says something, it's important to be prepared.

If your boss confronts you and asks you point blank, "Are you growing a mustache?" keep in mind you do not have to let him or her know if you aren't ready. Simply turn to your boss and say, "I have no news to share at this time." This is a flexible response that is not a lie (lying to your boss is very bad) and also allows you to deliver the news on your terms (via Twitter).

FAQ#3: I'm afraid of what my boss will say. What should I do?
Unfortunately, some employers are less than enlightened about mustachioed employees. If you're concerned about your employer's reaction, proceed cautiously.

Remember, it's acceptable to wait to tell your boss until your mustache has secured 14-20 days of growth. This allows you to point out that you've already demonstrated that you can successfully do your job while having a mustache.

Also, consider timing your announcement to coincide with the completion of a major project. By doing so, you'll send a strong message: I'm almost halfway through growing a mustache and my productivity hasn't been affected. Finally, you may want to wait to tell your boss about your mustache until after a salary or performance review to make sure the news doesn't influence how you're treated. Of course, if your boss is a handsome, mustachioed man or a woman who thinks mustaches are super sexy, then it may be advantageous to divulge the news during the review. It may also be advantageous to take off your shirt.

Take into account this advice before making your announcement. Who knows—your boss and coworkers may be thrilled with the news and may even offer to take you out to lunch or throw you a surprise Mustache Shower, where they "shower" you with gifts off you Mustache Registry (I'll cover this next week). And if you're still worried, then just quit. There's always a job for you in the adult entertainment industry.

Also, don't forget to check out my daily progress and diary by visiting
the About Movember tab at the top or by clicking here.

Reasons Not to Grow a Mustache:  
Your boss' husband recently had an affair with a mustachioed man.

Reasons to Grow a Mustache: 

The Life of Dad is updated every week. Thanks for stopping by and following my attempts to be a good dad, husband and co-ed softball player. I hope you visit again. -- Brian

November 5, 2010

Growing a Mustache Week 1: The First Trimester

When I first hatched the idea to grow a mustache for Movember, I received a lukewarm response from my wife. Sure, she had dreamed of one day marrying the type of man who had a good job, would treat her well and could raise a happy, healthy mustache. But she still saw the mustache as something we weren't ready for yet. Something we weren't financially prepared for. She made excuses as to why now wasn't the right time:

  • I'm too focused on my career to give it the kind of attention it needs. 
  • I'm nervous to bring anything into the world in THIS economy. 
  • What will the kids think of the new addition?
  • Are you sure we're mature enough to raise a mustache?
As if these same concerns hadn't crossed my mind; but it was time to throw those worries away. At 31 years, I was not getting any younger. My mustache clock was ticking. It. Was. Time. With a little help from our good friend, Cabernet Sauvignon, my wife and I agreed—together—to take the leap. So on Halloween we kissed for the last time as DINMs (Double Income, No Mustaches).

The next morning our prayers were answered and my upper lip tested positive for mustache growth. We were so happy! I called family and friends to share the good word. I posted to Facebook for the entire world to see. I even attempted to create a Twitter account to "tweet" our news, though apparently MustacheMania had already been taken.

At first I felt like a superstar because everyone showered me with compliments. "I'm so happy for you guys," they'd say. "Couldn't have happened to a nicer couple." Women gave us hugs. Men would give me the half-handshake, half-hug. Some weathered men, who watched their own mustaches grow up over the years, shared tales about how their little ones eventually fell in love with a pretty little razor and left home—much to the heartbreak of their family. Even one guy joked that, after 35 years, his mustache was still living under his roof, living by his rules.

When the excitement of the news finally died down a bit, the symptoms started kicking in. Fatigue. Nausea. An urge to crush beer cans on my head. I noticed changes—emotionally and physically. Emotionally: I wanted to yell extra loud at the TV as my favorite sports teams fumbled their ways into crushing defeats. I wanted to say "Nice buns" and wink at my wife each time she waltzed by me (though I used all my willpower to refrain). Physically: I started retaining water, not to mention the fact that my potatoes began to swell.

This process was proving more difficult than I had originally thought.

Next came the hunger cravings: mostly big slabs of meat, Slim Jims and jelly (who knew?). I drank more beer—and none of that light stuff, only the calorie-filled leaded beer—because it helps fertilize the mustache for thicker growth. And, just as the doctor recommended, I cut back on watching "Glee"—part because musicals can stunt growth and cause mustache defects, part because it was a rerun this week.

Luckily for me, I didn't have to face these early challenges alone. My daughters—bless their hearts—did their best to comfort me, giving me hugs and kisses, while offering to grow their own mustaches in a sign of support (I didn't have the heart to tell them, but it's the thought that counts). They also generously offered to "watch as many episodes of Dora as needed in order to stay out of my hair." Bless their hearts indeed.

As I near the end of week one, I've noticed many of the symptoms are fading away. The morning sickness is gone, and some even say I now have a special glow about me, an extra skip in my step. I'm beginning to see some results and, according to the medical journals, the growth is in line with what's to be expected during the mustache's first trimester. And from what most men tell me, it only gets better from here.

I wonder if that means I can start watching "Glee" again?

Also, don't forget to check out my daily progress and diary by visiting the About Movember tab at the top or by clicking here

Reasons Not to Grow a Mustache:  
Your girlfriend already has one—and it's nicer than yours.

Reasons to Grow a Mustache: 

The Life of Dad is updated every week. Thanks for stopping by and following my attempts to be a good dad, husband and co-ed softball player. I hope you visit again. -- Brian