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AMY KIRK: The mustache trend

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life Mitchell, 57301
The Daily Republic
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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Although my husband isn't aware of it, his decision to grow out his mustache again is just in time to be a part of the current mustache trend. I've seen a variety of merchandise featuring mustaches: Sunglasses with attached mustaches, necklaces, rings, cookie cutters and silkscreened mustache T-shirts.

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When my husband and I met, his mustache was his trademark and the source of much ribbing during our courtship.

According to old family photos, it's apparent that big mustaches have always been a part of his family's history. Pictures of his great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather show them sporting big mustaches. My husband admired their mustaches as well as the 'staches on actor Sam Elliott and cowboy humorist Baxter Black.

A while back, I received an email from Baxter about a column I'd written regarding married ranch couples. Mr. Black personally addressed my husband in his salutation, and that has led my husband to have a premonition that meeting the famous columnist is in our future. In preparation for our photo opportunity with Baxter Black -- whenever that might be -- my husband began growing out his whiskers this spring. The photo he wants to have taken would be me flanked by mustache-wearing Baxter Black and my husband on each side -- IF it happens.

As a woman on the receiving lips of walrus-style whiskers and noticer of whisker issues, I'm sharing my observations for any men considering participation in the mustache trend in hopes of helping prevent mustache embarrassing moments:

• Do not accept a mug of foamy tap beer without a napkin or hankie.

• Do not eat thickly buttered toast or corn on the cob without a napkin or hankie.

• Do not drink a cup of coffee without a napkin or hankie.

• In fact, just pack around a hankie or grab a napkin/paper towel if unplanned eating or drinking opportunities arise.

• If you're a self-conscious guy, always check the alignment of the mustache in the mirror first thing in the morning. This is when mustaches are most likely to appear unruly or crooked.

• Check the rearview mirror prior to exiting the vehicle to ensure neatness and cleanliness before mingling with people.

• As a backup if mirrors aren't available, establish a habit of subconsciously shaping the mustache with the index finger and thumb.

• If you don't have a miniature mustache comb, a toothbrush makes a fine mustache brush. Just don't be lazy and use toothbrushes that someone you live with currently brushes their teeth with.

• Periodically groom the 'stache with your tiny comb or mustache toothbrush to avoid embarrassing mustache disarrangement or having unsightly unidentifiable objects in it.

• Remove pull tabs on cans before sipping to avoid whisker-pulling/catching.

• If you're the father of a baby that recognizes you with a mustache, should you decide to shave it off, expect your infant to be scared of you the first time he or she sees you whiskerless.

• Avoid downpours. Heavy rains will cause major drippage from a mustache.

• When eating messy foods, swipe the 'stache frequently between bites. May these help potential trend-followers establish a good-looking mustache; but the most important tip is never, EVER tell your wife you let the dog kiss or lick your mustache clean.

-- Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.

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