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Ben Nardolilli, Student

“People say, ‘Why are you wearing that?’ And I say, ‘It’s my look.’”

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That’s quite a mustache.
I started growing facial hair when I was 10, which is really a blessing and a curse. It grows so fast that it gets out of control very quickly. But I can’t really be clean-shaven, either, because I’d have to shave again by lunchtime.

Do you always wear a mustache?
I had grown an Abraham Lincoln beard this winter—no mustache—but it just didn’t feel right. And it started getting warmer, so I switched.

Do people treat you differently depending on your facial hair?
Definitely. When I have a full beard, I get treated like I’m much older. I study history and philosophy at NYU. If I wear a suit, people assume that I’m a teacher, which I love. I’ll go into a classroom, and everyone will just be waiting for me to start talking.

Do you have style icons?
For a while, John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever was really big for me. But now I’m just sort of into male fashions of the seventies. It was bold. It wasn’t all about a blue shirt and a pair of khaki pants.

Where did you get the hat and sunglasses?
I have absolutely no idea where the sunglasses came from. The hat I took from my high-school drama department. Together, they just became my thing. People say, “Why are you wearing that?” And I say, “It’s my look.”

What are you doing this summer?
I teach at a camp for the academically gifted at UVA. Last summer, I tried to teach them comparative government, and they all wrote their own constitutions. One group declared themselves Marxist. Another group created a reverse Taliban where men couldn’t do anything. This summer, I think we’re going to get into free will. That might be dangerous for 12-year-olds.


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