Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON
The first time I grew a moustache, it was just an experiment really. I can't tell you whether it looked anything like designer stubble in the first week, but I can tell you that it was itchy. It startled me every time I looked in the mirror.
I was in my early twenties, spending some time in Darwin, up in the Northern Territory. At the same time, my girlfriend - whom I had been going out with since she was in pigtails - was on the other side of the world, training to be a flight attendant for an international airline. I spoke to her regularly on the phone, but I didn't tell her I was experimenting with facial fuzz.
About six weeks later, she came home unexpectedly and did a double-take, but told me that the moustache looked rather dashing. Her nod gave it the vital stamp of approval at a time when I was unsure of whether I wanted it to permanently adorn my upper lip or not.
You see, I was the fast bowler (opening pitcher, in US parlance) in my club cricket side and I reckoned the "mo" would strike some fear into the opposing batsmen. Also, if I may be permitted to go off on a cultural tangent for a moment, I'd like to point out to those raised on the sports of ice hockey, gridiron and baseball that the fast bowler is the quarterback of the cricket world. There, I've said it. That's going to put the cat among the pigeons now.
Truth be told, the "mo" didn't make me bowl any faster. While I thought it was on a par with Dennis Lillee's fearsome moustache, some other people whose surname was (and still is) the same as mine made no bones about their opinion. They told me it made me look like a second-grade Mexican bandit.
Fearsome Fast Bowler? Mexican Bandit? Same thing, isn't it? They're both quick on the draw and they strike terror into their opponents' hearts.
But one day, I decided on a whim to remove it. Let me tell ya, it ain't easy removing a mo. Growing one is a piece of cake. Removing it is something else all together. It doesn't come off easily. I might have been wincing, but I stuck manfully to my task and in about five minutes, I was clean-shaven once more.
And guess what? My girlfriend, the beautiful flight attendant, didn't notice.
POSTSCRIPT: But I loved her so much that I married her and now we have three beautiful children - who will never be shown photographs of me sporting the mo.