Everybody looks better with a mustache. Even monsters. Especially monsters.
Mo’s Mustache (by Ben Clanton, 2013, filed in the Lennoxville Library at C-62) arrives in a box in the mail, and he carefully pastes it on.
“What a splendid mustache.”
Yes, all the monsters adore the new hairy lip. In fact, they love it sooooo much that they all get ’staches.
This makes Mo sad. “Mo’s mustache no longer feels so big, black, or beautiful. So Mo says good-bye to his mustache….” Mo’s story is a fun and fabulous tale (for adults as much as for children), which ends with our hero discovering that people imitate him because they admire him. Imitation is flattery. And so, he goes from upset to pleased.
There’s a lot of bristle-sprouting this month, as many otherwise smooth-skinned men grow facial hair to mark Movember, the month-long fundraiser that brings in money for prostate cancer and related programs.
Movember Canada is also holding a fitness challenge so that women can get involved. But don’t forget that some women can participate in the same way some men do.
Consider the acclaimed Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo. She celebrated her prominent mustache (and refused to pluck her unibrow). Women are hairy, and Kahlo’s acceptance of her natural body has inspired many. It certainly did not impede her in life: Kahlo’s artworks are beloved (and worth a small fortune), and she had many lovers (both male and female). But one of the most famous was the whiskered Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky. (He died in 1940 of an unfortunately placed icepick.)
Award-winning author Gregorio Leon uses their affair as the backdrop for a modern-day thriller, L’Ultime Secret De Frida K. (2012, translated from the original Spanish by Catalina Salazar and filed in French Adult Fiction). It’s a mix of theft, murder, the drug trade, and the desecration of a religious artifact. And that’s just the first part….
Like Kahlo and Trotsky, many proudly wear their mustaches year in, year out.
- The detective Hercule Poirot pays particular attention to his (find Agatha Christie’s cozies in Adult Fiction in English and French, and also in Audio Books).
- The Gauls Asterix and Obelix (filed mostly in C-300) have lovely mustaches.
- Thomson and Thompson are lookalikes (but easily identified by their ’staches: one flips down, the other flips up, in C-360 and C-420).
- And never forget Ignatius J. Reilly in the humourous A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1981, available in French via interlibrary loan as La conjuration des imbéciles).
Bad guys have stubble too (plus beards, even worse!) –
- the turncoat Saruman in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth series (filed in Young Adult and in Audio)
- and Charles Dickens’ Fagin in Oliver Twist (in C-222).
Actor Hal Holbrook’s ’stache perfectly matches that of the real-life American humorist Mark Twain (born 1835), and Holbrook’s voice and mannerisms perfectly capture Twain’s character in the one-man show, Mark Twain Tonight!, a two-CD set recorded live on stage (2006, it’s just under two hours, and filed in Audio Books). Holbrook’s 70-year-old professional curmudgeon is arrogant (“I was born modest but it wore off”), charming and witty as he makes fun of journalists, moralists, and any and everyone else. A good portion of the show is given over to a reading of Huckleberry Finn, about a boy who flees his abusive father. Huck makes friends with an escaped slave, and the two seek some happiness in life. (You can also find the 1884 Huckleberry Finn in print in a year 2000 version in the Easy Reads section; these books are specially produced for beginner readers, for late learners, or those for whom English is a second language; nearby on the same shelf you’ll find its prequel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876/2008).
Of course, come the end of the month, Movember participants are to shave it all off. For some, this will be a relief. Not so for others.
The French author Guy de Maupassant died at the age of 42 in the year 1893. He once imagined a very short piece, penned by his “wife”, upon the loss of his mustache (read the full piece online at short-edition.com/classique/guy-de-maupassant/la-moustache).
Jeanne complains to her friend in a letter: « [I]l s’est rasé. Tu ne te figures pas, ma chère Lucie, comme ça le change ! Je ne le reconnais plus… ni le jour ni la nuit. S’il ne laissait pas repousser immédiatement sa moustache je crois que je lui deviendrais infidèle, tant il me déplaît ainsi.
« Vraiment, un homme sans moustache n’est plus un homme. Je n’aime pas beaucoup la barbe ; elle donne presque toujours l’air négligé, mais la moustache, ô la moustache est indispensable à une physionomie virile. »
And so, for those contemplating the razor, you might want to take a household poll, first.
— Eleanor Brown, November 20, 2015