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On My Upper Lip:A 55 Year-Old Mustache

Sitting here looking at a recent picture of my moustached self, I remember now why I have had this facial hair for 55 years.

Growing a moustache was not a fashion statement, a kind of natural accessory. For me growing a moustache had nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with culture, politics and masculinity.

Growing up in a family where my father, in hommage to his Dadaist

heroes Guillaume Apollinaire, Marcel Duchamps, and Man Ray, had famously shaved one side of his moustached face, in the heady years following puberty, my only choice

was not whether to grow a moustache but rather who from my pantheon of heroes would I choose to imitate.

My then heterodox scrapbook of political and literary gures heroes included Mariano Azuela, Albert Einstein, Friedrich Nietzsche, Mark Twain, Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Pancho Villa, and Emiliano Zapata; all were not incidentally moustached.

For me, moustaches conveyed verve, passion, strength, and intellect; and I wanted to be endowed with all of those qualities. Now 55 years later, while so much in my life has changed, my moustache, ever grayer, nevertheless still remains attached to my upper lip–a powerful and visible reminder of an earlier me, though so much else has changed and


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