Mustaches (or Lack of Them)

Well, I said I wasn’t going to write another post until after I see Dr. What’s-His-Face on Friday, but I can’t wait that long. I’ve been sitting in my chair, squirming, for the last hour, trying to tell myself not to bother with a post because I really don’t have very much to talk about. My counter-argument against myself is that there’s always something to talk about, no matter how pointless it is.

It’s winter, as previously stated, which means lots of snow and coldness and devious little patches of ice that you almost slip on walking home from school. It also means that you could store perishable items in my room now and they’d be just fine until you eat them next spring. Fortunately, all it takes for me to get overheated is a trip under the blankets and some patience, and then I’m steaming and sweaty again. I hope there’s not something wrong with me. I hear having a hot sort of temperature is a boy thing – how obscurely I am pleased – and also did you hear about my tiny blond mustache I’ve recently discovered? Hoo, boy. Them’s a good basically-invisible mustache that I’ve grown.

In direct light, you can even almost see it. It’s a collection of teeny hairs near the corners of my mouth – and I’ve got some more under my chin, and some peach-fuzz sideburns. I’m not exactly a lumberjack here, but at least I’m not like a hairless cat or something. I’m making fun of myself, obviously, but really I got vaguely amazed when I discovered the mostly-impossible-to-notice hairs on my face. Most of my friends have passed on from the peach fuzz phase and now have scraggly hairs that, given another year or something, might actually be beards. Me? I’ve got some invisible blond hairs that, with a magnifying glass, might actually be mistaken for some sort of girly mustache. Hey, I’ll take a girly mustache. Whatever. Also my cat is going bald – is that weird? Below his ears his fur is slightly patchy. Makes sense; he’s a middle-aged cat, and I suppose even cats have baldness issues. But luckily for him, he doesn’t even notice himself in mirrors, so he’ll never have to worry about it. Also he’s a cat, and doesn’t have gender issues, and doesn’t get needlessly obsessed with the appearance of a girly mustache.

I imagine myself trying to get in the school yearbook for Movember. I go to stand with the group of older boys who have grown everything from thin lines of lip-hair to full-out police-officer squares of fuzz, and when my picture is about to be taken, the guy stops and says, “Hey, wait a minute. You don’t have a mustache.”

“Yes, I do,” I answer simply.

“Okay, I don’t see it.”

“Trust me, it’s there.”


“In my mustache area.”

He leans forward over his camera equipment, squinting closely at my face. “Sure? I still can’t see it. You know Movember is for boys, right?”

“And hairy girls,” a boy off to the side offers. The others guffaw, or look embarrassed.

“Well, you can’t be in the yearbook if you don’t have a mustache,” says the camera guy.

“Don’t you see the tiny blond hairs?” I exclaim.  I stick my chin out and point under my nose. “See them? I swear they exist. They’re just really thin, and blond.”

“Really thin and blond isn’t a mustache,” he answers flatly. “It’s called ‘some random peach fuzz that everybody in the entire world has.’ Now, go away.”

“But I could’ve shaved it, and I didn’t!” I say with feeling.

He throws me a look of death.

Giving up, I start walking away, calling back, “In two years, you’ll see! I’ll have my mustache then. I swear.”

“Crazy kid,” says the guy. “Okay, next. Do you have a mustache?”

I made myself giggle, writing that. Does it bother me, though, having no mustache? Well, not really. The main issue surrounding this is just the masculinity thing – that mustache scenario is kind of how I go through life, trying to convince people I’m a boy while getting shot down because they can’t see it. If I had a giant beard, for instance, nobody would think I was a girl – and if they said so, I could just turn around and point politely at the beard and that would solve that. As it stands, currently, I am about as girly as any “girl” – meaning I don’t really have a mustache, (even though my back between my shoulder blades is fuzzy, is that strange? That’s probably strange), and I’m reasonably short (missing 5″6 by the tiniest little half-millimeter), and as I think I said before, I have an absolutely normal-pitched girl voice, which can’t be gotten rid of by will alone, as hard as I’ve tried. I try to avoid being squeaky, which is about as much as I can do, really. I don’t want to make myself talk low on purpose, even though I’ve been trying to hit that low E minor note for months on my guitar, and I can still just barely scratch it. I try to just talk normally, minus the California girl inflections that some girls do talk with here in Ottawa (a billion miles from California, but whatever, who knows why they do that.) There is only so much you can do to find, and hold onto, your boy-image, if you happen to be transgender – I can sometimes manage androgynous, but full-out boy is hard. Being shortish, high-voiced, and mustache-less, I must rely on my clothes and my video games to not be girly. It’s a tough way to scratch out a living, but I get by.

Today in English class (haven’t I started a paragraph with ‘today in English class’ at least a couple of times before this?)  we went to the computer lab, and we ended up having lots of free time, so I just sat with Zoe and we talked about things. I picked a finger until it started to really bleed – the blood welled up like crazy and I had to stick it against my sleeve to control it – and Zoe tried to convince me to go to the bathroom to wash it and get some toilet paper for it. I guess she doesn’t know that I often make my fingers bleed – I never mean to, but it’s a nervous habit and I’m having no luck getting rid of it – although, it was a little more noticeable than usual that time, since the blood was pretty much glopping off my finger in giant red gobs. (I’ll make myself faint if I try to describe that again.) Anyway, her advice, as I said, was to go to the bathroom – and of course my initial reaction was, in my mind, ‘NO, not the GIRL’S BATHROOM, not that awful place again’, but then I remembered the guidance counselor told me I could use the staff bathroom, which was conveniently on the same floor as the lab. But I’m also a little nervous about using that one, since it’s the most obvious ‘Look at me! I’m different!’ tip-off possible. I could’ve maybe just gone to that one, but then I thought of something, that maybe if I just didn’t go at all that could be a hint to Zoe. She already could tell I was reluctant about going, but if I went anyways (she would think I’d actually be going to the girl’s one) then she would think that I’d just gotten over it and that it’s a thing I’m nervous about for whatever normal girl reason that girls have. (?) Anyway, I didn’t end up going, and muttered something about not having gone to the bathroom in years – which on the outside sounds like a terrible thing to do to my body, not going to the bathroom for years, but I meant I hadn’t gone to the girl’s one in years, which is true. Then later on in the conversation we were talking about style and how people should be able to dress however they want, and I put it out there that in a perfect world I’d be wearing Victorian clothes to school – “Complete with a top hat”, I said. She thought that was awesome, and suggested we should make that into a thing and have the whole school do it. I think it would be unlikely that everyone would actually want to do that. I make do with my suspenders and 1920s hat, although sometimes I feel too conspicuous in my suspenders, and just settle for my sad old hole-filled sweater, which is a wonderfully inconspicuous thing to wear.

Anyway, that was my really half-assed attempt to break the news to Zoe in the computer lab. But if you think about it, I got all the right hints in – I don’t like the girl’s bathroom, I like top hats. You know, that’s good. Besides, I’m going to be doing a monologue from a boy’s point of view (it’s Jack from The Lord of the Flies) for my summative, and that’s got to be a decent hint, as well. My next plan is to write BOY on my forehead in marker and see how many people get it.

I also asked her if she could skate, which was just a build-up to asking her to skate on the canal with me when they get it frozen. I always try to frame questions like that in ways that make them seem as non-date-like as possible, partly for my sake, and partly for the other person’s – if it’s Josh or something, then I need take no pains to act nonchalant because I could never, not in any situation, imagine us going out – but if it’s Zoe, or Nathan, then I feel like I should be careful. I don’t really like Nathan in that way anymore – even though I get brief flashes of liking, probably hormone-induced – and I think my liking of Zoe is more based on how awesome she is than any romance thing. I get happy flutters from her, but that might just be all they are, happy flutters. There’s a small but discernible difference between “happy flutters” and “romance flutters”, I’ve noticed over the years.

So she can skate, (but not on hockey skates like me), so that means I’ll be zipping around in my vaguely-awkward-I-still-don’t-get-crossovers-even-after-five-years-of-hockey skating style, and she’ll be sliding about doing graceful figure eights, or whatever figure skaters do. There’s the big difference between her and me: I zip around knocking into things and she slides like a feather through soft morning air, in real life, too.

I actually have a girl friend, I realize. Not a girlfriend, but a friend that is a girl – while throughout my life my best friends have always been boys. There’s actually a difference, at least in some ways; I find girls are more open, and you can talk about more things. (Although Josh and I are famous for our long conversations about life on the way home from middle school, a few years ago.) Affection is much different with boys than with girls – with girls, they’ll actually help you if you fall down or if your finger starts bleeding, while a boy will go ‘Oh shit! Your finger!’ and then either be amazed at how bloody it is or suggest that maybe you should like get a band aid from somebody before you bleed out or something. Girls are way less apathetic, at least on the surface, about those sorts of things – if my finger starts bleeding, a girl will go ‘Oh my God! Fix it, fix it! I’ll hug you if you feel bad! Let’s get ice creams!’ while a boy will go ‘Shit! Look at all that blood! Does it hurt?’ No doubt on the inside their feelings are still the same, but they express it much differently. If one of my friends fell down while skating or something, I’d initially feel worried and go to help them up – but if they’re doing fine I’d start to laugh. I don’t think, unless I started laughing first, that Zoe would laugh at me if I fell down. Therein lies the difference between girls and boys. Don’t quote me on it, though.

Succinct version: boys get nervous when you’re in pain, and girls hug you. Which is better? Who knows. I don’t mind hugs, not all the time. Although last spring when I was playing softball a girl did come up and give me a hug without asking first – and note, I have Asperger’s, and my personal space is a very sensitive place that only select family members, my cat, and a few friends can enter unannounced – and I wasn’t too thrilled. That overly-huggy demeanor that girls have is a bit weird, when you get right down to it – they hug constantly. When they see each other, when someone falls down – it’s inexplicable to me. My way of greeting my friends is to awkwardly wave and smile. No hugs involved. Very little human contact, even.

Zoe’s never tried to hug me, though. That may be because she’s shy. If I ever fall off a building or something, she can go ahead and hug me – that’s completely fine. In fact, if I fall off a building, everyone can hug me. Even the girl who played on my softball team, if she wants.

So, whatever. I’ve still got – is it Monday? – then I’ve got three days to go before Dr. What’s-His-Face. That’s not bad. The one thing I object to lately is having to go on the bus every day – what with the sitting next to people and then walking to and from the stops, in whatever weather (today it was a whole lot of snow and ice.) But at least it’s exercise, and I get some time by myself between school and being back at home – also it’s the time of the day where I listen to the new Arcade Fire album, so I guess that’s a thing to look forward to daily. My mom just got home, I can hear her stowing away presents in her closet. When she called earlier she said something about cupcakes. She just walked in, so naturally I minimized the internet page – (she doesn’t know about my transgender-oriented blog yet, but I’m thinking of showing it to her soon), and now I may, perhaps, go downstairs and see about that cupcakes thing she mentioned.

Until next time, random reader. Hope you’re not a spam bot.




About thecellarboy

17. I write, play music, and have a cat that likes to bang his head against doors until they open. View all posts by thecellarboy

2 responses to “Mustaches (or Lack of Them)

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