Addendum: I've since had it confirmed by my mother that the gentleman in the picture below is my maternal great-grandfather not paternal and has therefore been identified as Henry Hyde and not, as previously stated, Arthur Benjamin Olorenshaw.
There are some synchronicities that stretch down through the ages. Eye shape, cheek bones, crooked toes. Physical and biological DNA fingerprints that are passed on at the cellular level. Familial biometrics. A lottery that we have no choice about but find ourselves born with. Ooh you have your mother’s eyes, etc.
But then there are others. The physical, the biological traits that we do choose.
Confused? Think of the moustache.
Yes. Think of it. Stroke it. Caress it in your mind.
It grows quite naturally but with the technology of the modern world keeping it is a personal choice. To beard or not to beard. Hirsute you, sir.
I first allowed my face to be graced with facial hair in my early twenties. I sported a full on beard and tache. Not quite the Brian Blessed aurora bristlyaris but coupled with my waist length hair it gave me a full on Bejasus look that the locals kids would daily feel compelled to comment upon. Little tykes. Ah bless.
And then, sometimes in my thirties, my marvellous continent of beard began to be invaded with white hairs. Lots of them. I’ve never been one for the badger look (“as rough as a badger’s arse” is my favourite expression – wouldn’t be good to have a facsimile of one on my face) so I elected with the help of my good lady girlfriend (now my good lady wife) to trim the beard into something a little more sporty. To drop the people carrier in favour of an MG.
The result was an entirely separate moustache and goatee (although I can grow them “joined up” I choose not to). I’ve had it for years now and it feels very much “me”.
So it was rather comforting whilst digitally scanning some of my grandparent’s old photographs into the computer to come across this picture of my great-granddad, Henry Hyde:
Check the tache. That’s mine, that is. To a T. I know other people had moustaches in those days but not everyone did. Old Henry H made an aesthetic choice regarding his whiskers that I have matched over a hundred years later. It’s a tenuous link I know but it is beefed up by the fact that the structure of his face quite closely mirrors my own. Both Karen and I can see a likeness to me within the sepia definitions of a face that I never ever saw firsthand.
I feel a sense of connection. A bond. A correlation in what constitutes good face furniture. Separated by a hundred years of family and global history our moustaches bristle proudly from the same town in the same country... in the same shape.
The family moustache is alive and well.
Rest assured, when the time comes I shall ensure that it is passed onto my sons and carried forward, cleaned and possibly waxed, into all perpetuity.
Make the most of those naked top lips, boys, ‘cos they won’t be that way forever.