Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Cad's Whiskers

R Is For Razor (What's All The Fuzz About?)

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.

36 comments:

World Champ Stephen Neal said...

Stephen Neal is the only man to ever defeat a brick wall in a game of tennis.wbozl

katherine. said...

well if we can't see a picture of you with the "mo" how about one in your cricket uniform...so we don't have the whole Jiminy Cricket image in mind...smile.

the cat among the pigeons indeed....

Gina said...

What a charming story, sorry about the removal issues! But so happy about your postscript : )

Sam said...

hmmmm... was wondering if any pic remains from the "mo" days?
fast bowler?? hmmmm.... like their action a lot.... like say McGrath or Akram!! unfortuantely, never saw West Indian legends so can't comment on that!!

david mcmahon said...

Hi Stephen Neal,

I'll take that as a non-spam comment and remind you that Stonewall Jackson preceded you!!

Good luck with your brick-wall tennis quest.

Cheers

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Katherine,

When I was 21, a friend of mine with a long lens took a shot of me in action at the Eden Gardens (the equivalent of the Super Bowl venue).

I still have the photograph somewhere and a colleague of mine said about ten years ago: ``That's mighty impressive but you;d need a step ladder now to get up that high''!!!

He's probably right ....

Cheers

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Gina,

Always a pleasure to see you here. Yes, the love story had a happy ending and I never ventured towards re-growing the ``mo''!!

Cheers

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Sam,

I'm told I had a classic fast bowling action - a cricket writer once compared my delivery stride to Tom Richardson's (he was way before my time).

But I never saw myself on video until I was in my late twenties - and immediately picked one flaw that I would have rectified as a kid if I had used the on-screen viewing technology.

Akram? I wish!! I saw him make his debut in the 1985 World Championship of Cricket here in Melbourne - as a cricket writer!

Cheers

David

RUTH said...

LOL Trying to imagine you with a moustache. :o)

Cowgirl said...

Loved the romantic ending... great stuff. Course she didn't notice you'd shaved it off, too busy gazing into your eyes!

david mcmahon said...

Hi Ruth,

At the time I thought it was a good look, but in retrospect I think I might have been wrong!!

Cheers

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Cowgirl,

Hang on a second - I'll go and ask Mrs Authorblog!!

Cheers

David

mrsnesbitt said...

At 16 years old I was a dab hand with a razor! I was a nurse aid at a local hospital and had to "prepare" the patients on the men's medical ward for surgery........
.......
.....
....
...
..
.

but not their faces....

lower!

much lower....

correct!

Steady hand needed!

Power eh!
A wonderful thing to a 16 year old!

david mcmahon said...

Hi Denise,

Classic! I hope you never got ``stroppy'' with any of them.

I reckon that's got to be a blogpost, too!

We're waiting ....

Cheers

David

Sam said...

lucky you David!!
He is oen of my cricketing idols.. wish I was as fast as him!! Unfortunately, my shoulders werent too strong.. so resorted to leg-spin!!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

It is amazing to me, who has had beard and mustaches (as Hercule Poirot would call it, uh, them) for almost 40 years, that folks never notice the changes I make in my facial fuzz.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Great story. I still have mine and it isn't going anywhere soon.

Have a great Wednesday!

dot said...

Laughing at all your comments! Great story!

lime said...

you really must show your children and us a picture of you sporting the lip fuzz!

mr.lime has had a moustache almost the entire time i have known it. he has shaved it off maybe 3 or 4 times and each time i beg him to immediately gorw it back because without it he resembles his brother too closely and i cannot bear the thought of crawling into bed with his brother.

what a fun story.

eric1313 said...

It's funny how we try to alter our look with something like that, but when it comes to love, it doesn't matter one bit.

And I scrolled down and looked at a few pictures and commented. Great work, as always, David. Hope the novel is going through it's final editorial checks with at least some ease. I know how those editors can be.

I can really tell by your writing that the recent novel experience has brought your words to a new level of finesse.

Ackworth Born said...

razor? what's one of them?

Mike said...

I can go a week and nobody notices I haven't shaved. It would take me an eternity to grow a beard. As for razors, I only tried a wet shave once and decided it was dangerous so I've had an electric razor ever since.

Stacy said...

I love this story, David. The way you let us into your thoughts with just a few words is a wonderful talent. I also like the line "whom I had been going out with since she was in pigtails". There is so much affection in those words that I knew it had to be a very fond memory about your wife. Thank you for sharing it!

indicaspecies said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing a little more of you. :)

NorthBayPhoto said...

Interesting story and accompanying photo.

Thanks for visiting my NorthBayPhoto blog.

Oswegan said...

That's quite a stash of razors.

~Oswegan

Lee said...

Interesting shot, David! The more I look at your work the more I'm convinced that I need to get that camera out and practice even if it is only still life. My preference of course is for flora and fauna.

Your lady obviously had great taste. I always liked a mustache on the men I dated. It made them look about 5 years older and tickled.

Happy Turkey Day!

Craver Vii said...

You should totally grow a big o'l mustache. You know, the ones with the waxed twirl at the ends? Totally, dude!

The trick to shaving off facial hair, I think, is first to shear it really close with electric clippers. Otherwise, the razor tends to jam and snag. Better luck next time. You know what? I could seriously see you sporting a "soul patch."

Peter M said...

Razor sharp photo, a cut above the rest

Misty Dawn said...

What a great story. I agree with Katherine - if we can't have a photo of the 'mo'... then let's see ya in the uniform ;-)

The story of you and Mrs. Authorblog is fantastic.

Miss Sniz said...

This is such a cool picture and a good story!

Neva said...

What a great story! Facial hair on men....it comes and goes and is one of those things I never notice. My son grows different things on his face...mo, beards, sideburns you name and I don't notice it when it is gone. Hmmmm wonder what that says about me ....and your bride!

Hin Man said...

I have not finished reading the post, but now I know why you look so handsome in your icon picture.

Lynette said...

Great story, David, to go with your photo of the razors. My dearly departed husband grew an entire beard (after having only a mustache when I fell in love with him) because the freezing cold air/wind in Kansas City wreaked havoc with his skin in wintertime. Shaving proved painful--the beard meant less shaving was necessary.

Ornery's Wife said...

David, Thank you so much for sharing a glimpse into your history. I enjoy reading your prose and it is nice when it is "true" so I can get a picture of life down under. I especially liked the post script of a happy ever after!
TM

Kate Isis said...

Thats brilliant David. I would have overlooked such a basic bathroom item. But grouped together like this they make a great shot