Try growing a mustache, even though you know that it might not turn out, that many mustaches don”t. You”ve seen “em … thin, pathetic and just cryin” to be shaved off.

Paul Wong
Freshman Ryan Bertin looks for a weakness in his opponent”s stance. In the background, coach Joe McFarland gazes at photographs of Michigan wrestling legends.<br><br>TOM FELDKAMP/Daily

“I look foolish here!” they say, nearly a distraction: Walking across the street, minding your own business, and you”re suddenly confronted with the abrupt appearance of a small unsightly mass of hair just above the mouth of what formerly looked like a guileless thirteen-year-old bystander.

It”s repulsively intrusive and this sort of killjoy becomes even less appropriate when he”s old enough to legally gamble his life away. Certainly, this is an ominous, “don”t wanna end up like that” situation.

So you”ll want to proceed cautiously before entering this fuzzy realm of handle-bars waxed shinier than Pee-Wee”s bicycle, lazy chap-shaped wings drooping like a basset hound”s jowls, and the sideburns-meets-upperlip-hair doublethreat of Chester A. Arthur, the twenty-first President of the United States. You”ll want to proceed extremely cautiously.

Luckily, the fact that you already have a very full beard bodes well for your ability to grow only a mustache and, blessed with this knowledge, you may confidently begin imagining the prestigious list of possible celebrities your face has a chance of resembling: Wyatt Earp, David Crosby, Magnum P.I., Ned Flanders … forget about the stars, you”re after your own look and ain”t nobody walking around campus with a mustache these days.

Feel a quick flash of panic (nervousness?), but second-naturedly suppress your instinctive reaction.

Rational deliberation is the only proper method of considering all aspects of this monumental decision, so perhaps it”s necessary to assess your current, bearded, facial hair situation.

Why is it there? What function does it serve? What do I stand to lose by fashioning it into a mustache?

A quick self-assessment leads to the conclusion that there are four basic reasons why you currently have a beard:

1) You enjoy the fact that something is growing on your face (and appreciate that this is perhaps the only circumstance under which you can hold that knowledge and not be deathly afraid of having caught something unpleasant from your dog).

2) The intrinsic laziness of not having to shave on a daily basis, or even, depending on how long you”re willing to let your beard get, ever again.

3) Extra warmth for the winter.

4) Historically, figures reputed to embody “genius” have often been known to wear beards: Socrates, Frederick Douglass, Karl Marx, Jerry Garcia, Santa Claus … and it”s possible that, subconsciously, people will assume that, as a beard owner, you also possess special talents.

Soon, re-analyzing your beard”s raison d”tre points should reveal the obvious advantages of mustache living.

Pro-Mustache Counterargument:

1) The desire to participate in the cultivation of an entity on your face almost certainly also implies a thinly veiled ambition for control. And what better way to flaunt mastery over your beard than by willfully altering its shape?

2a) In this example, your beard functions as an excuse for sloth. Yet any decent proponent of laziness should be willing to jump on virtually any means of rationalizing the activity, rendering the beard excuse frivolous and unnecessary.

b) Just because you have a mustache, doesn”t mean you can”t have stumble. Lots of stumble.

3a) The reference to winter here speaks of a seasonal quality to your beard, which, inherently, should involve some sort of quarterly change in appearance. Now that the sun has started shining more than twice a month, there”s no better way to herald the earth”s rotation than by shedding the majority of your facial parka.

b) Since the plants sprout freshly in the spring, it seems appropriate to start a new year of facial growth with a relatively clean slate (refer back to beard justification #1 for details on why this at all desirable).

4a) If you actually have some special talents, it”s probably better to keep them to yourself. Remember how much you admired Superman in your formative years?

b) If you don”t actually have any special talents, it”s probably better that people don”t assume that you do, lest they start expecting things of you.

By now you”re probably wondering what”s happened to you, vaguely recollecting that someone once explained that suppressed feelings manifest themselves in strange ways (like lists) and the nervousness you felt at the thought of being virtually the only student on campus with a mustache. Of course, you also once heard that fears are best conquered head-on, and thus resume your quest to determine the proper mustache style for you.

Still curious about the local disappearance of this particular facial dressing, you refer to Michigan Ensians from the last forty years and conclude that mustaches have been on the decline since the mid-eighties.

First appearing as if from nowhere in 1971, the mustache”s prevalence seems to have peaked around “75, and it”s been over two decades since any evidence of really healthy-looking, untamed … mustachios (read: “mustache, esp. a large, bushy one”).

Suddenly you”re destiny is clear. You will pronounce it “moo-stah-shio” or maybe “moo-stah-chio,” even though you”ve already looked the word up and found that neither articulation is correct they”re both cooler than the real pronunciation anyway (“muss-tah-show-tah”??).

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