According to my grandfather, I have a mustache.
Really, I would call it a couple extra freckles that have recently come in, but Mr. Filek believes otherwise. I have, for the most part, ignored this comment. I’m not too worried about it.
But according to my grandmother, my grandfather should not talk out of turn.
Other Conversations I Have Had With My Grandmother
MY GRANDMOTHER: Vancouver’s gone downhill though, eh, Dana?
ME: How do you mean, Grandma?
MY GRANDMOTHER: DOPE.* And prostitutes…**
*Vancouver has always had dope. Since forever. This is not a recent development.
**Sault Ste. Marie, the town where my grandparents are from, apparently bears the fine reputation of “Hookers and Hockey Players.” So yes, Esther Filek is the expert.
It’s not like I even have hair on my face, it’s just some extra dots above my lip. After receiving this remark, I scrutinized my upper lip in the mirror, and I can honestly say it is just another blemish. I don’t even think it looks like a mustache; maybe if you squint real hard and think about it.
According to my father, this comes from my mother’s side of the family.
Of course, this then became a point of conversation for the rest of the day. When I locked my mother and my grandparents out of my apartment building and asked “what’s the password,” my grandfather swiftly responded: “Mustache.”
According to my mother, it is a discolouration of the skin medically known as chloasma.
She always tries to make things better with words like these. But really, no one knows what the fuck she’s saying.
I got a lot of presents this weekend, despite my alleged facial hair. There was some legal tender involved, jewelry, flowers, and a well-crafted piece of Spandex that I plan to wear on hot dates. These all probably had less to do with my ‘stache and more to do with my graduation.
WHICH, by the way, was not as bad as I thought it might be, save for one minor caveat: I don’t think I ever received a diploma. Sure, I got my degree – the big, cardboard thing that you frame and put in your office (if you have an office) – but when you get that diploma-holder on stage, I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to go offstage and trade it in for a diploma-holder with a diploma in it. I never got one. What does this mean?
Also, small point: in my experience, 100% of commencement robes I have owned in my life are of the same material: a manufactured, waxy cloth that I am CERTAIN is highly flammable. If there were a fire in the Wang Centre on May 17, 100% of Emerson College’s Class of 2010 could have gone up in flames.
The good news is that there was no fire, and it turns out that Bernie, our commencement speaker, was not nearly as bad as I expected. He actually provided some good entertainment, called us the sexiest class of graduates he’d ever seen, and referred to something as “useless as an ashtray on a motorbike,” which I thought was pretty cool.
Oh yeah, and I’m supposed to think for myself.
Other than that, it was the usual hijinks with three generations of F-Gs in town: lavish dinners for which I did not pay, spending time in parks, mocking one another’s strange physical appearance. I nearly achieved ketoacidosis (another fancy medical word) after a twelve-course dinner one evening, stuffed with bread and scallops, pierogies, fava beans, and an unnecessary amount of cheesecake (though, of course, not all at once). And even this morning I woke up to check on my face, still wondering if my mustache had come in. It’s comments like these – accusatory ones suggesting you have unsightly facial hair – that stay with you as a small reminder of the family you have in other places.
Later that afternoon, when I had let my mother and my grandparents into the apartment building but locked them out of my apartment, my mother knocked on the door and I asked in a sing-song voice, “Who is it?”
Without missing a beat my grandmother, Esther Filek, matriarch of the Filek clan, towering at 4’11 and toting her purse in one arm, yelled at full volume into the peephole of my door: “MUSTACHE!”
New Year’s Resolution #13: Be thankful for the people you’ve got, even if they think you have weird things happening on your face.