I’m a Woman with a Moustache and I Don’t Mind

disguiseAt the great old age of 48 now, I still have the same whiskers on my upper lip which I have lived with since I was about 13 or 14. I have never tried to hurt, maim or kill my moustache. I have left it alone, in a live and let live kind of way.

It helps that my whiskers are sparse. I do have dark hair and the hair on my lip matches the colour of the hair on my head (or most of it now that I’ve got grey mixed in with my dark brown mane).

I live with my facial hair and I don’t mind it. I even have a bit of fondness for the facial hair – It makes me feel connected to other women in my family who have far more facial hair than I ever hope (or want) to have.

I remember the very first day I actually noticed the whiskers myself.

I was in our downstairs bathroom and I had leaned in for a closer look at my face because I had a zit (also known as a pimple). I still like to get rid of those. I squish them then put stuff on them to finish the killing process and decontaminate so they can’t so easily return.

Seeing darker hairs on my upper lip was a surprise. I’m sure they weren’t there before then. I hated them on sight. They were traitors to the young, perfection of my face. That face being one of the few things I actually did like about myself – and still do. Having whiskers was a shock. Only old women were supposed to get those kind of things, women going through menopause or women from hairy families. I had neither. I was about 14 and my ancestry was pretty slanted to the Celtic side.

I called in for reinforcements, my Mother. She looked and then looked closer. She said they were hardly noticeable unless someone was really looking for them.

So I took a step back from the mirror, which wasn’t much considering my face was almost pressed against the glass to start with. It was true! Once I stepped back and wasn’t focused on that area of my face, I really couldn’t notice the whiskers. If I looked, I did see them. But, I had to be looking pretty carefully.

So I wasn’t turning into some weird sort of man-beast after all.

My Uncle has had a full beard and moustache for as long as I can remember. As children we would buy him shaving cream, packages of razors and so on. Children sometimes have such great ideas but not the common sense to see these ideas through. He laughed about our gifts and after being embarrassed once or twice we realized a man with a full beard and moustache isn’t going to need shaving cream. Later I would try after shave, thinking he could use it like cologne. I never did hear either way about that one. Maybe he thought it was a good idea.

Anyway, at that young age myself and having whiskers I did picture myself growing a beard, thick and hairy as I went through puberty and all those changes. I would check my upper lip for changes, new growth, more growth – dreading to see a whisker begin to do so much as curl.

I was lucky in the genetic lottery. I never did get more whiskers, or thicker whiskers. I did have friends who were less lucky.

One young woman I worked with had to shave her face every day. If she skipped a day she had 5 o’clock shadow. From talking to her I know she tried all kinds of methods to get rid of her whiskers. Waxing was painful but seemed to give her an extra day from having to deal with them. She tried several of those gimmicks from TV ads. Some of them burned her skin and made everything worse. Not only did she still have whiskers but her skin was burned and red or even blistered too. I was so glad for my sparse little whiskers then.

We Women Do Get Whiskers

Women in my family have a small tendency towards whiskers, when we get older. My own Mother began plucking her face (not just her eyebrows) once she was in her 40’s. My younger sisters both had whiskers on their upper lip and chin by the time they were in high school. Mine may have started sooner but they were less visible.

When my Great Aunt Alice died one of the saddest things was the full beard she had which no one was there often enough to prevent for her. She was my Grandmother’s sister (on my Mother’s side of the family).

My Grandmother also had stray whiskers on her face, but I never saw her with a lot of them until she was quite a bit older, when I was far past being a kid myself. She was a plucker too. Interesting to note that I have her same pattern of grey hair mostly in the front too. Maybe we share our whiskery ways too and I won’t have to really worry about them until I’m 60 or so too. I miss her – in that way it’s an honour to share her whiskers and grey hair. I do think about her nearly every time I look at my face in the mirror.

But… I do Like Being Contrary

Having written all that, a funny thing happened when I turned 40-something and began to get whiskers on my chin – I began plucking them, pretty mercilessly, with tweezers. I’m far from being a bearded lady. I only notice one a week and I do pluck them as soon as I feel them.

The only difference with the moustache and the chin whiskers was my age. I did not like the hair on my chin making me feel old when I actually was past the age of high school and beyond. Nature’s little digs about our age are much easier to take when we aren’t old yet.

Moustache Growing Month: Movember