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one-week-series

It is not a stretch to say that mustaches for "people like me" are unpopular.

Sure, some truckers have them. Policemen. Firemen. Some older men with gray mustaches wear them with confidence. The young urban caucasian male may have an ironic mustache. Well groomed mustaches are still popular for middle class men of African and Latino descent.

But middle-aged, middle-class caucasian father working downtown? Nope. I figured I would stand out to pretty much everyone I saw. 

So, I decided to wear one. 

 

One week: Having a Mustache

It started when I recognized that I hadn't shaved in a while. I've had mustaches before as part of a beard but never went to work with one. It's a power you have, what good is it if you never use it?

It only lasted a week, but the mustache teaches lessons quickly. For one thing, the reactions of people were mostly non-verbal. A lot of double takes and more than a few reflex reaches for their own face. When people did say something, there were some questions ("why did you do that?"), some declarations ("You look like a pedophile") but mostly just giggles. 

As I watched for people's reactions though, I was surprised at how much having a mustache changed me. I realized I'd spent a good portion of my public day wondering what people were thinking of my mustache. I was definitely more self-aware than I expected. It really took me out of my comfort zone. 

I didn't realize it at the time, and because it wasn't exactly a premeditated act, I now believe I was subconsciously trying to challenge that comfort zone. I recently read Seth Godin's Icarus Deception, in which he recommends that we recognize the difference between our personal safety zones and our comfort zones and spend some time experimenting with the latter. After a week living outside of my comfort zone with an admittedly ridiculous mustache, I have to say I agree with him.