Years ago, on a trip to the Twin Cities, my friend Elisa fell in love with our server over a three course meal with 20 friends. It’s a fond memory we reminisce about often. The trip and the server are like our own pop culture reference from the imaginary sitcom we starred in that never aired. Many in our friends group understand the reference, and for those who don’t, they are quickly told the story of Mustachio.
Our friendly server stood tall, had fluffy copper colored locks and wore one of those fancy black aprons that tied at the waist and fell to the floor. I don’t think Elisa noticed any of that over the flickering candlelight from our table – she was too focused on his penny colored mustache. During the appetizer course, Elisa just stared at him and blushed if he looked in her direction. By the time the entrees had arrived, they had struck up a conversation and over dessert they talked about his fabulous mustache, which he took great pride in.
After the meal, everyone had paid and was ready to call it a night. Elisa was the last lingering person among a sea of empty tables and that’s when it happened…she hugged Mustachio. He looked to be a great hugger, but that’s when he told her he wasn’t interested in women.
It didn’t seem to bother Elisa at all. She floated on a cloud out to the car and she never forgot about Mustachio. We never even found out his real name.
Over the next few years, mustaches would show up for Elisa wherever she went. At my wedding, she discovered five novelty mustaches on a card in the decorations tote – they became a hit at the reception. (I couldn’t just walk by the mustaches and not buy them for her.)
Shortly after the introduction of Mustachio into our lives, mustaches made a huge cultural comeback. (I like to credit Elisa, and I think she does too.) Men are encouraged to sport them for a fundraiser for cancer, novelty items popped up and sold out in a matter of days, things like pencils, aprons, tote bags and bottle openers – all inspired by mustaches and all of which Elisa received on birthdays and holidays.
So on a recent trip to the Twin Cities to pick Elisa up at the airport after her vacation, my friend Laura and I almost fell over laughing in the scrapbooking isle of Target. On a neat little card, wrapped in plastic were six perfectly groomed fake mustaches. We bought them…along with white paper and a giant Sharpie.
Just as Elisa’s flight landed, we printed her nickname on the paper and Laura donned the most elaborate mustache from the pack. Laura positioned herself by baggage claim, proudly holding the sign, and got the most blatant stares I had ever witnessed in my life, due to the crazy mustache and her stoic expression. It didn’t seem to bother her at all – in fact, I think she really enjoyed it.
I spotted Elisa picking up her suitcase and then walked with her until she saw mustached Laura and read the sign in her hands. Being groggy after a long flight, it took her a few seconds to register exactly what was going on, but then she doubled over at Baggage Carousel C and almost dropped her carry on.
Oh, Mustachio. If you only knew what you’ve inspired.