Sunday, July 25, 2004

Of Moustaches and Men

 It is possible that some of the readers of this blog have moustaches. If you are reading this now, then you may be wearing a moustache yourself. Alternatively, if you do not have a moustache, you may don a false moustache while perusing, although it will not, as far as I am aware, make any difference to the way you read this blog.
 I was at a job interview on Friday. In itself, this has very little to do with moustaches, but that cannot be helped. This company was looking for a part-time report writer to work at their Belmont business to prepare reports for various insurance companies. During the course of the interview, I bought out a number of the articles I had written, one of which was a short piece written for Fighter Force paper, the monthly publication for RAAF Williamtown. This short piece happened to be about the predominant fashion amongst middle-aged males on the base for moustaches. For some reason, you see, moustaches are quite popular amongst members of the Australian Air Force, and I wanted to find out why. I spoke to the hairdresser, and was also directed to Warrant Officer D.T., the officer in charge of style and decor on base. Making sure that all the members of the RAAF are chic and sleek is undoubtedly an Important job, and when I got through to D.T. on the phone, he undoubtedly sounded like an Important person. However, when I asked him about the fondness for moustaches amongst middle-aged to older RAAF officers, he clammed up. "I don't see what the point of this is," he said. I explained that there wasn't really a point, I was just interested in the moustache sub-culture on base, and I wanted to do a simple 100-200 word article about it. After some cajoling, he reeled off some standard details about standards of dress, hair-cut, etc, that the officers were expected to conform to. Neither D.T. nor the hairdresser were able to answer my question, but I was able to get an article out of them, at least.
 It only occurred to me during my job interview yesterday that perhaps the reason D.T. was so touchy about the subject of facial-fur was because he himself wore a moustache. When I spoke to him over the phone, I had formed an image of him, and that image in my mind was of a clean-shaven, middle-aged individual. Perhaps I was wrong there: but could the wearing of a pair of handlebars have such an influence on what he said?
 One of my favourite authors, Brian Aldiss, released a book last year titled The Cretan Teat. It was a clumsy attempt at combining the genres of biography, literature criticism, and contemporary novel. Very dissapointing - doubly so, because, just prior to reading that, he had released the brilliant Superstate, which certainly counted among his best work. But the book did possess at least one memorable moment, a page of original literary criticism, in which the author contemplates Virginia Woolf's criticism, and comes to the conclusion that though it can be very rewarding, it contains very little by way of practical advice. She does not say, for instance, 'how to read while wearing a false moustache'. It shortly becomes clear that the author - forced by circumstances in the preceding pages to adopt a disguise - is currently buying some Asian pornography while wearing a false moustache.
 It's certainly a valuable insight.
 Sadly, moustaches seem to have gone out of fashion amongst the general community. I currently do not have a moustache. Once I wore a beard, though that was not because of a desire to make a fashion statement as because of general laziness and indolence.
 If you wish to combat the saddening decline in facial fur and moustaches, then you could do worse than paying this website a visit and visiting some of the links.
 In conclusion, I think somebody should give me a job straight away.

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