> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
I turned 58 years old last week and shaved my mustache for just the second time since I can remember. It was an odd coincidence but it turned out OK as I had many people tell me I looked younger without the facial hair. In fact, my wife was the only real negative opinion. But, to be fair she had warned me a couple of decades ago that she never wanted me to shave it again.
The last time I shaved my mustache I was Elizabeth Taylor!
This past week I made a dumb bet. I took the Denver Broncos and two points against the Indianapolis Colts. I figured it was a sure thing. As is generally the case with all “sure thing” bets my sure thing wasn’t all that sure. In fact, I have a long sordid history of losing bets on sure things. The dumb part was to wager my mustache on the outcome of the game.
Let’s face the facts — nobody really takes a bet when they are pretty sure they are going to lose. That would be just plain nuts. So, somewhere in the twisted mind of a gambler they are always planning on winning any bet in which they engage.
I don’t bet much money anymore. I occasionally accompany my mom to Churchill Downs or on a rare day the betting parlor in Clarksville. Betting parlor sounds kind of shady. When I hear the word “parlor” I think of the old western movies where parlor usually referred to a house of ill repute. Any other reference to the word “parlor” hasn’t been in practical use since the 1800s. I am willing to bet that you haven’t used the word “parlor” in a long time in a sentence. I mean, it’s not really a bet since I am not going to put up anything to lose but I bet you haven’t said the word much since the 1800s.
Immediately after I shook on the wager in which my stakes was my mustache, I had to call Kim. Of course, I knew she would be a bit irritated at me for putting the facial hair on the line. I am betting there isn't a happily married man out there anywhere who doesn’t enjoy irritating their wife every now and then. It's just a happily married guy kind of thing to do.
Marriage and happiness are certainly all about the compromise. Most people I know who criticize me for compromising with my wife haven’t been happily married for 27 consecutive years. The fact is that I have been happily married for so long now that I honestly cannot remember the last time I was unhappily married.
I am willing to bet that Kim can remember when that was. If there is one thing a man must remember to be happily married for 27 consecutive years it’s that a woman remembers everything forever. If you think I am wrong and you are happily married just ask her for the time, the date, the place, and the person involved in the situation where there was unhappiness in your marriage.
I bet you are going to tell me I am right and be sorry that you took the challenge.
Still after giving out all of this advice I put the mustache on the line absolutely knowing she would not be happy. It’s really about as brave as I get these days in rebellion. Even with the 27-year happily married streak a man has to be a man every now and then. You know how some people with dentures keep them in a glass jar by the bed. That’s where she keeps something else I used to have. I am pretty sure the old expression “grow a pair” was first uttered by a divorced guy to his happily married friend.
Anyway just for fun I let her talk to the guy who was the instigator that enticed me to put up my mustache. She, of course, told him that I wasn't allowed to wager it and the bet was off.
I showed up Monday clean-shaven at work. It was just after turning 58. I did get a lot of comments about how I looked younger which was certainly gratifying just after feeling like I was getting too close for comfort to the age of 60.
Here’s the irony of life for me. It seemed like the more I told Kim about the looking younger comments I got the more irritated she seemed to be at my telling her about them. In happily married man land we like to refer to that as a win-win situation.
This discussion brings me back to the last time I actually did shave my mustache. I was on a committee for the Fund for the Arts back in my corporate world days. In a moment that to this day I still can't explain or understand I agreed to dress up as Elizabeth Taylor for the annual fundraising drive (it was an Oscar Party theme and I carried a fake Oscar around the office all day and gave a fake acceptance speech). I went to Actor's Theater and picked out an unbelievably Elizabethen formal dress and accompanying over-the-top jewelry. On the day of the fundraiser the head make-up artist showed up at the office and did my hair (a wig), make-up, and accessories.
I have to admit that I was not the young, vivacious Taylor but rather the middle aged fat Elvis version of Elizabeth. When I walked into the company owner’s office he actually didn’t know who I was. It was a successful day as many people donated $5 to take their picture with me in drag.
Kim only had one problem when I came home. She had never seen me without the lip cover. When I went to kiss her she was kind of weirded out. She told me I looked just like my mother. Apparently she has never had a desire to kiss my mom on the mouth.
So I kind of promised her back then to never shave it again. And I kept that promise until this past week when Peyton Manning let both her and me down. I have not attempted to kiss her all week. I bet it will be a long time before I shave it again.
I do keep the jar by the bed just to remind me what it was like back in my younger rebel days before I was happily married. In another bit of irony, the mustache will grow back.
Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at email@example.com