Thursday April 24th 2014

Cookie duster confidential: Diary of a one-day ‘stache

By: Shannon Bryan

Photo by Claire Jeffers

Portland’s annual Stache Pag returns Friday to Port City Music Hall, encouraging local men (and women) to flaunt their facial hair in front of an audience of spirited ‘stache fans. The event grows every year, unstoppably, much like the ever-growing upper lip bristle that it celebrates.

And while I appreciate an individual mustache’s uniqueness and complexity, it’s still just hair, right? But that doesn’t explain all the hullabaloo (the devotees, the audience applause, the film festival dedicated to mustaches). Is there an aspect to the ‘stache that I’m missing? Some mustache magic or mouth brow power?

There’s a reason mustaches are springing out all over this small city. And I knew that the only way to get to the lip toupée truth was to go undercover as a mustache wearer. So that’s what I did:

6:30 am: I woke up without a mustache, feeling generally average and facially naked.

7 am: Mustache applied with help from a team of expert makeup artists and costume designers an adhesive backing purchased from the party store. It looks totally realistic.

7:14 am: Decided the sweater I was wearing clashed with the ‘stache. Changed into plaid.

7:36 am: Didn’t feel like eating my usual breakfast of eggs whites and spinach, which I’ve been eating every morning without fail for the last seven years. Had a hankering for pork. As I stood in the kitchen marveling at this peculiar craving, the doorbell rang. It was a delivery from the Mustachioed Meat Eaters Club of America: “Welcome aboard,” the package read. “Please enjoy this week’s complementary pork belly.”

7:50 am: Despite no previous experience with cold smokers, I managed to cobble one together using my roommate’s old grill and parts I removed from a dryer at the laundromat.

8:30 am: Made eye contact with neighbor’s constantly barking dog. Dog silenced itself.

8:46 am: Got pulled over for a broken taillight on way to work. Police officer approached the driver’s side window, looked at me and said, “Oh geez, so sorry. I didn’t realize. My deepest apologies for disrupting your drive.”

Photo by Wendy Almeida/Press Herald

10:15 am: My normally authoritative boss just told me that he’d feel better if I used his office from now on (“what’s mine is yours,” he said). I think I hear him weeping in the bathroom, on account of he doesn’t have a mustache. I disassembled his desk and built a trebuchet.

12:15 pm: Took a walk at lunch around the Back Cove. My nose caught the scent of bear in the wind, so I went in pursuit. I discovered the bear banging on the door of a school, the teachers and students petrified behind the thin glass barrier. I attacked the bear from behind, and we wrestled for several minutes until I was able to subdue it with a strike to its snout.

1 pm: Was approached on the street by a woman who said she suspected her fiancée was involved in a secret naval military special forces outfit called Delta Force. She apparently thought I was a private investigator, which I am not.

1:05 pm: Solved the woman’s case, anyway.

3:10 pm: Walked past the soda machine in the lunch room – the one that always steals my money. It spit out $12 in quarters.

5:11 pm: Shelly, the bartender at the bar I frequent, forgot my usual drink (a glass of chardonnay) and unwittingly brought me a glass of bourbon. Then asked if I’d like to hang out sometime.

7:10 pm: Caught a fish out of Portland Harbor with my bare hands. Just ‘cuz.

8:22 pm: Not wanting to use the “wuss box,” also known as an oven, I built a camp fire in the side yard adjacent to my condo. Fish cooked and eaten!

9:45 pm: It’s a comfortable 29 degrees outside. I think I’ll sleep out here tonight, under a pile of brush, and contemplate the art of whittling.

Photo by Claire Jeffers

Stache Pag & International Moustache Film Festival

7:30 pm Friday | $10 in advance/$12 day of | Port City Music Hall, Portland

“Dedicated to their mustache”

…at least for the month of March.