When I started my law enforcement career, I was -- how to say this -- fresh-faced.
Bluntly: I looked like a teenager.
This plain-and-simple fact of nature caused a couple of problems with people who didn't believe I was old enough to be a deputy; people who were certain that 'Candid Camera' was lurking about; and the general all-around hell I caught from co-workers and other fellow peace officers.
One day, while pondering the inequities of the situation, it struck me that I was the only officer in twelve counties that didn't have a moustache. A dim memory revealed that a moustache made the wearer tend to appear older, and they gave an air of authority to the possessor of said lip-spinach.
It was so obvious: I needed to grow a moustache.
Three weeks later, certain facts of genetics raised their snickering little heads. It wasn't that I couldn't grow a moustache -- my Norse/Celt ancestors had gifted me with a truly impressive soup-strainer.
Unfortunately, it was ash-blond. As a matter-of-fact, it was a shade of ash-blond that couldn't have blended better with my complexion if I'd planned it.
And it was ... undisciplined. More of my moustache wanted to grow up towards my eyes, or sideways towards my ears, than wanted to grow mouthwards.
With the constant combing I was giving it (training to grow south rather than every other direction), I would have thought everybody and their blind cat would have known I was cultivating a glorious moustache, but this hypothesis was brutally dispelled by my mother.
I had met her for lunch and we were about half-way through the meal, when my mother -- still talking to the person at the next table -- dipped her napkin in her glass of water, caught my chin in one hand and proceeded to scrub firmly on my upper lip with the hand holding the damp napkin.
It was obvious that something needed to be done.
A friend of mine -- although mysteriously afflicted with the coughing fit that had befallen my mother earlier -- suggested that I go see a barber and get some 'moustache wax'.
Voila! It was beautiful!
The barber even mixed and prepared the wax right there in front of me, matched to my hair colour and everything.
Flushed with success, I hared off home, ensconced myself in the bathroom and applied the wax according to instructions. The transformation was awe-inspiring. All of a sudden I was the proud possessor of a moustache that would cause every Colour Sergeant and Regimental Sergeant-Major who had every been in the British Army to weep bitter tears of jealousy.
Every magnificent hair in place, and all coloured a beautiful, vibrant strawberry-blond to match my hair.
Funny, I hadn't realized that my hair was possessed of a ... flourescent ... quality, but maybe I had just not noticed, it being above my eyes, instead of below my nose -- which was obviously the explanation.
Proudly, I stepped forth from the bathroom into the bedroom, where my ladyfriend was -- for some reason known only to the distaff side of the species -- stripping the bed.
"Hey, darling," said I, turning to show my moustache to proper effect.
'Hey, baby," replied the Object of My Affections, somewhat distractedly as she ruthlessly yanked the pillowcase off the pillow, "There's a hairbrush in the bed somewhere, and the damned thing's been scratching me for about a week..."
Her voice trailed off, no doubt in awe as the munificent masculinity of my magnificent moustache overwhelmed her delicate sensibilities. She gazed in wide-eyed wonder until that damned coughing fit caught up with her, too.
Coughing fit over, she stated, in stunned admiration: "You've got a ... moustache..."
"Yes," I said, proudly, waggling my eyebrows at her rogue-ishly.
Her hand flew back up to cover her mouth, "It'saverynicemoustache. Bathroom!"
Pleased with the world in general, I tapped my Stetson onto my head (canted at a proper rakish angle) bid my lady a fond au revoir through the bathroom door and went to work.
..To be continued.