Thursday, June 21, 2007

30 Over 30 #4: The Rhetorical Moustache

A lot of people think my suave 'stache is a joke. It's not (but if it was, it would be a very funny joke, from the sounds of it). It's actually a rhetorical device.
I've been reading Thank You For Arguing, Jay Heinrichs's super-entertaining book on "the art of persuasion", aka Rhetoric. Heinrichs writes in the same casual tone that made Will Ferguson's Canadian history books so much fun.
So what's that go to do with the 'tache (as my Briton friend Phil calls it), Emmet?
Well, this sweet piece of lip grooming makes me more pathetic. Oh it, certainly does that (especially as far as Nicole's concerned). I meant rhetorically pathetic.
The moustache, especially the push-broom model I am sporting this week, has fallen out of fashion (and not without good reason--channelling Nicole again). Oh sure, hipsters have their ironic handlebar moustaches, and then there's the issue of those moustache-goatee combos, which only look good on superheroes and jewel thieves. And even then...

The point is, the moustache, my moustache belongs to a bygone era. By wearing it, I give the appearance that I am removed from the fickle hurly-burly of fashion. The moustache says that I have adopted a stance and that I am sticking to it, whether or not public opinion favours it. It says, the bearer of this moustache is both individualistic and reliable. Which creates the sense (perceived or real)of that powerful tool of rhetoric, disinterest. It also emotes a bit of melancholy, a weltschmerz of whiskers, which never hurts.
The hypothesis is that I wear this moustache (or the moustache wears me), and people are more willing to trust me. People should find it easier to open up to me.
Of course, the moustache is a chimerical thing. Let it grow a little too long, and you become Nietzche or Stalin. Too narrow, you're Hitler. If you let a five o'clock shadow grow around the moustache, you become desperate and creepy.

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