We're ten days away from the end of Movember, and Thanksgiving is upon us! Our five participants must brave their families' reactions to their facial hair this week and face important styling decisions as their whiskers grow progressively unruly.
NICK, 27, founder of a nonprofit start-up, Brooklyn
I arrived at my parents' house today, and my mother — who was born and raised in India, and is also unfamiliar with Movember — told me I look like a Goonda, which is a term for "thug" from late-seventies Bollywood movies. She also asked if I could just shave down the sides. My sister still thinks we might need to alert the neighbors.
Having a nose neighbor is definitely still a new sensation, and I've been unconsciously stroking it a lot. I'd like to think it makes me look like a Bond villain.
GREG, 28, advertising creative, New York
I think the mustache lends an additional dimension to my general disheveledness. A guy in a baseball hat is one thing, whereas a guy in a baseball hat with a mustache is quite another. Girls have definitely been checking me out less; I'm not sure if it's because I look like an outer-borough plumber and they're too snobby for that, or because I just look bad. Either one is probably a dealbreaker though, so it probably doesn't matter.
I've been growing in a slight beard in anticipation of Thanksgiving, because I only see a lot of these family members once a year, and I'm not sure "guy with a mustache" is what I want their yearlong image of me to be.
JEFF, 30, writer-editor, New York
My family hasn't seen my mustache yet, but they've been weighing in remotely. Texts like "Your nephew no longer recognizes you" are not uncommon. My mother, who doesn't normally spend much time on Facebook, has been feverishly "liking" every photo I've posted, either because she actually thinks I look good or because she wants me to feel supported no matter how bad this thing gets. I'm guessing it's the latter.
I decided to splurge for a fancy haircut to offset everything that's happening on my face, and my barber suggested that I style my 'stache a bit. She trimmed it a little, marveled at its prickly nature, and then informed me that I needed a "mustache goal." We then decided to remove a bit from either side so that it no longer extends over my lip. We also trimmed the top so it has a sort of pyramid quality to it. It's slightly Chaplin-esque, although that's what anyone whose mustache looks a little Hitler-y would probably say. I'm aiming for the mustache Brad Pitt sported in Inglourious Basterds; I may not look like Brad Pitt, but at least my upper lip can.
CAL, 26, producer, L.A.
I saw my extended family over the weekend for dinner, and the overwhelming reaction was that my lip was dirty. There was no acknowledgment of my mustache's spindly glory. But it was a good warm-up to what Thanksgiving will be like. I've found that my mustache works well with my normal wardrobe of flannels and jeans, but on the rare occasion that I've worn a suit and tie over the last couple weeks, I've felt like an anchorman from the seventies.
I don't think I'll ever get used to having facial hair. It just looks so unnatural on me, and I'm constantly touching it without realizing. Friends are constantly telling me, "It's not like the more you touch it, the more it grows."
DAN, 29, consultant, Manhattan
My family hasn't seen my facial hair yet, so I'm both excited and scared for their reactions, especially my Grandma. It hasn't inspired me to dress differently, but maybe I should consider a crazy shirt or something to draw attention away from my upper lip.
I've been touching my face a lot. I think stroking my mustache helps me make better decisions. Lately, I've noticed some of the hairs getting a bit out of control, so I might need to incorporate some sort of wax if this trend continues.