The scene was eighth grade Spanish class. The place was a southwest suburb of Chicago. The time of day was irrelevant, but let’s say it was after lunch. I sat down next to my seat mate; let’s call him Kipp to maintain his privacy. Kipp, a very honest and kind eighth grade boy looked at me and asked, “Antonia, why do you have a mustache?”

This was news to me! Why did I have a mustache? Did I have a mustache?! I had just gone to the bathroom. Do they grow that quickly? It was a very short walk from the hallway to our classroom so I was sure that it could not have grown from the time I looked at myself in the mirror up until that very moment I sat in my seat.

Horrified, I said nothing for the rest of the day at school. After the bell rang, I ran home and as soon as I saw my mother I began to cry. “Kipp told me I *sob* have *wail* a *ugly cry* mustache,” I lamented to my, at the time, cool as a cucumber mother. Her response? “I should have told you about this sooner. I’ll get the Nair.” I had several thoughts at this point: 1. What was a Nair? 2. Would it hurt? 3. Was this mustache thing a temporary problem and would Nair take care of it forever? Or would I be stuck with this mustache until death do us part?

The answers to my questions? 1. Nair is a hair removal product that temporarily gets rid of unwanted hair. 2. Yes, it would hurt a little because it burns a bit once you’re ready to take off the cream and your hair along with it. 3. Yes, I was stuck with this mustache until death do us part. It’s still my longest standing relationship from my childhood, for better or for worse.

I consider my relationship to my mustache an area of growth for two reasons. 1. Because it is. It keeps growing and I have to keep removing it every month or so. 2. Because it’s sort of a metaphor for life. You may think, Tone, what could possibly be the upside of having a mustache? And, really, a mustache as a metaphor? The upside is that having a mustache makes for a great conversation piece at dinner parties and work events.

As for the metaphor piece? We all have things we need to work on; areas of growth as it were. Think this is a stretch? Tell that to the person conducting your job interview! We all have something we need to focus on in terms of improving ourselves. For me, it’s my mouth; yes, the irony is not lost on me. My tongue is sharp and my quick-wittedness has gotten me in trouble more than once in my lifetime. Learning how to tame my inner monologue has been integral to maintaining personal and professional relationships. Holding my tongue will be a lifelong issue for me, but it has gotten better over time as I have learned to listen more and talk less. *Insert Hamilton lyric, Talk less, smile more, here.*

My question to you: what is your mustache? If it’s physical in nature, feel free to contact me about mustache maintenance. If it’s metaphorical in nature, feel free to contact me about mustache maintenance. As human beings, we could always use a little help with either.

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