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Having some good times with bad hair

Open Space
Derek Franz
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Two words: Mustache party. Such a theme might sound a bit non-hetero, but there is some magic to a woman with a sexy little ‘stache. Perhaps it’s to do with the blurring of the sexes, a reminder that we’re humans with the same needs and interests. Whatever it was, the fun was off the hook and the kabobs were on the grill at my buddy’s apartment last Tuesday.

I was given short notice and had only two days to grow a few blond whiskers. Lacking time and cash, I figured I’d use duct tape to make up for my short-comings instead of buying a real fake mustache. However, my plan was challenged from the get-go, as is often the case in my life.

First, I couldn’t find my own roll of the silver sticky stuff, though I knew I had it somewhere. I was already late to the gathering when I went upstairs to ask my roommate to spot me. He was on an important phone call, though, so I couldn’t bother him. Out of immediate options, I grabbed my bag of beer and walked to TJ’s place. He had the tape, alright, but I soon discovered how difficult it is to cut a curly, pencil-thin mustache with something intended for fixing windshield wipers, jackets, snowboard bindings and heating ducts. I had to resort to a crude, square-cut handle-bar style, which didn’t stick well and unfurled at the corners.



Soon there was peer pressure to use the hair dye as many of the other peach-fuzzed boys were doing. What the heck, I thought, after they convinced me the dye wouldn’t stain my skin. I went to the bathroom, picked up the little paint brush and jumped into the moment. With each stroke I imagined the most elaborate facial-hair design and made every effort for perfection. Adding to the challenge is the fact that it takes about 10 minutes for the dye to appear in full effect. I think at this point it goes without saying that my body-art masterpiece revealed itself to be a righteous embarrassment. By the time the first female attendees walked in the door I looked like I had been bobbing for attention in a vat of ink. Oh, well. Sometimes I simply find myself where I suddenly happen to be. I didn’t have to worry much about my appearance with the women, anyhow. The first three that came in the door were quickly hounded into a corner of the kitchen by a large pack of eager youthful men, pressing against each other for a chance at the rare mountain-town commodity (available women).

Smelling the testosterone all the way from my seat on the sofa, I laughed at the memory of myself being so foolish so many times. Eventually those guys would learn it’s much better to let the caged rabbit get comfortable in its surroundings before pouncing. (Seriously, though, I felt a bit bad for what the ladies must go through more than they’d like.) My odds of hooking up with a girl in that environment were about the same as finding a cherry convertible with keys in the ignition. I was relieved to discover I didn’t care. Several of my old high school buddies were there and fun was the point, anyway ” not dating.



What was bugging me was that the skin on my face was stained in erratic black patches and I had a friendly date with a Texas-grown sweetie-pie lined up for Thursday. I did not want to show up at a ritzy restaurant looking like Heath Ledger’s psychotic Joker, but once again, “Oh, well,” had to be the words. There I was and I had to laugh (making a mental note to scrub vigorously as soon as I got home). Eventually the packed penile crowd in the kitchen relaxed and dispersed. It was time for TJ’s latest band project to debut its bluegrass skills. The members of “Hot Whiskey” rocked the house, and it was hard for anyone not to leap into the music. I played the empty beer can and the car keys, with some whistling thrown into the mix. The girl next to me picked up a frying pan and wooden spoon. “Yeeea-ha!” became the word as the room came together and made sweet music under the cover of mustaches. Men or women, we were all just humans, rocking out to the good vibes we crave through all our days.

Epilogue: I went home and scrubbed my skin off, to little avail. I showed up at work seven hours later with a stained face and suffered the inevitable loads of frat-house ribbing. Still, all I cared about was Thursday, and I’m happy to say the last of the dye came out in the shower just before I left for Carbondale’s 5Point Film Festival. Then I burned my hair while learning to fire dance at another party on Saturday; the smell has yet to subside.

Derek Franz would like to remind Sam Wizer to e-mail him at rockgripper8000@yahoo.com regarding the genesis of a new writers’ ring.


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