Braving Life with a Handlebar Moustache – a Conversation via Email
The following is an email conversation with a site visitor Jonathan. He is new to the fold and asked some advice on enduring the transition to awesome facial hair with a handlebar moustache.
I recently discovered this site, it is full of great tips. I have been growing my mustache, from a bald upper lip, for about a month now. My goal is a handlebar like you have. I have three concerns and I haven’t found a post about them yet on here, so I thought I’d just ask you.
1) I have light brown hair, but my mustache is almost blonde. I think it will look good when it is longer, but right now it just looks kind of weak. Did you have any issues in the growing phase of just wanting to give up?
2) right now it looks somewhat “redneck” if you know what I mean. One thing I like about the handlebar is it’s classy, but right now I look like a wanna-be porn star with a blonde stach. How did You overcome the odd looks people give? Or was that not
3) How long was it when you started styling it? Mine is long enough to get into my mouth a little bit, but not quite ready to
do anything cool. I suppose many of these are just about the growing process. I know I want it, I just don’t know if I have the willpower to let it grow when I get frustrated. Any encouragement would be nice.
Thank you and I enjoy the site a lot.
Thanks for writing. Glad you like the web site, and glad to be of support to you.
One of the amusing things nature does with our hair is mix and match colors on different parts of the body. And don’t fret about the color being light. I’ve seen some great blonde moustaches. Wear it proudly.
I will say to you never think less of your appearance for this, or be worried what others think. Just as children should not be ashamed of being child-sized, you need not be concerned what your moustache looks like before it is grown to the size you envision. If anyone thinks less of you for it, that only shows their weakness of character. Yet if you encounter that, take it as an opportunity to be fearless in the face of it. That’s being a man. I have a motto:
“It’s not always the moustache you carry, but it’s always how you carry the moustache.”
What most people admire in others is self-confidence, and what they see of this will override their general appearance to a very large degree. Yes, there are those who still cannot see past the surface, so we forgive them and forget about them.
I’ve had a short moustache most of my adult life and it grows in dark regardless. When I decided to let mine grow out to handlebar length I had just cut it to an eight of an inch for some reason – and buzzed my 3 inch hair down to a quarter inch. That was June 2010, and I haven’t cut my hair since. My moustache grew in dark regardless so the color wasn’t an issue, and I was so used to various lengths that bulk wasn’t a concern.
For me the only concern my ego faced was what people though of it as a handlebar, but I was so amazed by it being so awesome to have a handlebar – and one that curls on its own – that I never gave it much of a thought what others said, and plenty enough praised the look. Yet, even so, now and then I would become self-conscious about being such an odd man out. The complements have buoyed me against my self consciousness, but also I’ve found I’ve become more accepting of others differences. You know, who am I to point fingers! Lol.
Re wanting to give up. Yes, you will find on my blog where I mention wanting to quit. You will go through bouts of self-doubt and self-consciousness, sometimes masked as just thinking you don’t like the look or thinking your moustache isn’t good enough. I’ve always found buried under that worry about how I look to others. You have to make the choice as to how you look and how you feel about it, not them. Everybody has their own looks, their own style, and my feeling is if you aren’t all in ego in choosing your style then you probably look fine. Choosing or rejecting a look due to ego needs and fears is not cool. Just be yourself.
I also have what I call the Two Week Rule: Never cut off your handlebar moustache until you hate it for two weeks solid – and stop worrying about what others think in the process.
In fact my moustache just survived about 9 days of serious doubt. I found I had become a bit too attached/dependent on it and felt I didn’t want to be just the guy with the big, awesome moustache, but I also found some concern about being judged for it as well. I stuck it out and survived. My lesson was that I have to rely on my inner character, not just my outer looks, to build my “reputation” with others. Much of my life I never really thought I was all that great looking, but know that I do look pretty decent, even without a handlebar. It was a psychological image I had of myself from my teens.
Growing my moustache has opened new understanding for me in this whole area. I didn’t grow it to stand out or attract attention, but to see what it would do, and found it was awesome. When the doubts arose I found I wanted to be more genuine, and be known for my good character and heart, not just my awesome moustache. So I came close to cutting it off. I didn’t and still don’t want to depend on it or let it obscure or substitute for who I am. I do still think a handlebar moustache usually looks awesome on a guy, and certainly makes one memorable, yet I also am more keenly aware of the necessity of the inner component of being, and the need to recognize that there is plenty of interest and good to who I am as a person as it is.
Blah, blah. So yes, for whatever reasons your ego comes up with you will have days where you will hate your moustache. Just remember that your dislike of it will wear off in a few days. Hang in there. Give it three to five months to fill out, also. And it may take a long time for you to get used to your new image as well.
Regarding styling, everybody I’ve communicated with in the Handlebar Club Forum agrees that when growing it in never trim anything on the upper lip. Let the body/middle grow out to its full length, which will be maybe 1.5 inches eventually. Don’t worry about it getting in your mouth or tickling your lips. You won’t even notice eventually. Use wax or glue stick when you find it works for you. There’s no right time but when you have enough hair. Yet don’t make the “mistake” of using too much wax on a short – or long – moustache as it will just look greasy – what I call a “lip leech”. It’s not just about sticking it together or keeping it out of your mouth, but about it looking good. Also, too much wax too soon will just make it look sparse when it’s all stuck together.
Also remember that you are not just adding length but thickness. Not all the hairs are growing now. If you examine underneath you will find hairs of all lengths because different hairs will stop at different times. Mine took about 5-6 mos before I could find no more middle hairs with cut ends and it was as thick as it could get. So in time the sparseness will fill in as much as your genes allow by these shorter hairs falling out and being replaced, in addition to adding length.
Another moustache motto could be, “Never to trim, never to fear.” Lol.
Sincerely, though long winded,
Thanks for the response. Your response in this e-mail and on my blog (The New Web Courant) have been tremendously helpful and encouraging. I get doubts about it, but they never last more than a day or so, so I haven’t cut it. It really is a huge commitment and a very exciting adventure. When asked about growing the mustache I tell people it is a lot more than just not shaving it is a mental exercise as well.
I have close to 3/4 of an inch now, and I am seeing how not all hairs are equal. The right side “tip” is fuller than my left side. Luckily this isn’t noticeable by just looking. I am sure this is common and with time will adjust itself. I don’t want to cut anything to equalize it for fear that it might backfire on me and I’ll have to start over.
Have a great weekend and thank you again for your support and encouragement.
Good to hear from you, Jonathan. Yes it is a mental exercise and character exercise. Keep at it. You will learn things about yourself and people – even life. I’m very glad to hear I have been of assistance.
Remember the two week rule! You will come out of your bad mood in a few days. The worst I had was about ten days of doubt.
I have heard several men say they messed up their moustaches by trying to even things out.
This enviable guy
destroyed his accidentally and had to start over. Be warned.
is where he was back to 2-24-2012.
Remember, nobody sees your moustache like you do. They all think it looks better than you think it does.
You may never have perfect evenness. A lot of guys find this sort of thing. My moustache grows longer on the right and thicker on the left. It might take years to be fully balanced to my eye, or never. Don’t sweat it. That’s another life lesson. You are what you are, most people don’t notice anyway, and if they do, too bad for them. Too bad for you if you let it bother you.
Who would have guessed that a small patch of hair could have so much power!
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