Every year for the last few I’ve elected to sacrifice all facial hair in a sort of ‘stache reboot called Movember. For those not in the ‘Mo, it raises money for prostate cancer research and other men’s health issues. A couple of years ago I decided that I wanted to do the handlebar. To grow a truly righteous handlebar mustache requires a few things.
A Blank Slate – I find that with growing a new style of facial hair it’s good to start with an empty canvas. You need to do away with any previous hirsute projects and take it down to the bare skin. You can move from a fu-manchu to a chevron, but honestly, they take different growth patterns and it’s just easier to pick a style and commit. If you want to change it can be a bit of a disaster to do so in mid-course.
Support – When you first decide to wander down the road of learning Mustach-Fu, you are going to need support. In the case of a handlebar this is true in the form of wax. I recommend something neutral in color and odor, made of mostly beeswax. It will give you a good soft hold and with a bit thicker application you can do cool things with it. If you go to extremes with your handlebars you may even resort to using hairspray, glue, or other non-standard pomades. The more daring you are, the more creative you may need to get.
You’ll also need support from your friends and significant others. Frankly the whole process can make you look a little silly. Even with a good end result you will still stand out and even the most stalwart of facial hair farmers shouldn’t have to face the snickers alone.
Patience – There’s going to come a time in all lengthy commitments like this when you’re going to want to give up. Trust me. It will itch. It will be hard to manage. You’ll get soup and other bits of food in it, and hairs will get in the aforementioned food and beverage. With a little patience you will be rewarded. Facial locks, just like those on the top of your head, will eventually get with the program. I’m at the point now where I can comb out to the side and the tips will defy gravity.
Pruning – My ‘stache is long and luxurious. The temptation to avoid scissors is strong. And depending on the style you go with it may be wise. Generally though, I believe it helps the over all structural integrity to remove some of the hairs in the middle and shape the remaining hairs to accentuate the over all appearance. Not every hair will grow at the same rate, so it may also be neccessary to trim individual ones back to length. You’ll also run into rowdy ones that will want to point everywhere but the right way. I recommend plucking those out completely. It will hurt, but improve your look.
Independence – This may be the most important part. As I mentioned above, you’ll need people in your corner. When you make a fashion choice that may not be popular or that may be too popular among groups like the Hipsters, it can be a hard row to hoe. The DIY spirit must be strong among those who want to go all the way.
If you pay heed to these few points, one day you may have a project to be proud of. Upon consulting my own list I think these points can also be helpful in producing a novel or any other creative work. As a novelist, I recommend picking a story and genre, or genre mashup, early on. You will certainly need the support of friends and family. Creating is hard and lonely work. Patience in producing the first draft and judicious editing are both challenging but necessary. And finally when you make the choice to become a creator, you need the strong independent streak to pull all of this together. Even if you don’t self publish as I have, this is your baby, your vision, and you are the one responsible for bringing it into the world.
I hope this advice is useful and I hope you’ll share the fruits of these suggestions, be they pilary or literary.