Five Influential Mustaches That, In Retrospect, Should Have Made Me Realize I’m Trans

1. Inigo Montoya

When I was a kid, the movie I insisted on watching way too often was The Princess Bride. I was obsessed. I can do all the best quotes — yes, with the voices too. I recently re-watched it for the first time in many years and was struck with two realizations: the first was that it’s completely tongue-in-cheek; the second was that Inigo Montoya has a mustache. I was struck with a third, semi-related realization during my last therapy session, after I told my therapist about my desire to grow “a shitty little mustache” and my plans to join a fencing team in college, which is that I’m just trying to transition into iconic Spaniard Inigo Montoya. Looking back, this was the mustache that Started It All. It’s worth acknowledging that Westley also has a mustache, but his unrelenting heterosexuality renders that mustache irrelevant to my bi transmasc journey. 

2. Remus Lupin

Lupin is one of those characters that I knew was gay before I knew that I was gay. The other characters on that list are Neil of Dead Poets Society and Clarence, the guardian angel in It’s a Wonderful Life — coincidentally, the only other movie, besides The Princess Bride, that I watched over and over again during my childhood. There’s something so horribly familiar about Lupin’s quiet bravery; the way he looks away when he tells Harry that his mother “had a way of seeing the beauty in others, even, and perhaps most especially, when that person couldn’t see it in themselves.” Lupin is the kind of teacher I aspire to be, the kind of man I aspire to be, and perhaps most especially, he has the shittiest little pencil mustache that I aspire to have. G-d bless. 

3. Every Mustache I Urged My Cis Friends to Grow

I need to preface this with an apology to every cis man I’ve tried to pressure into growing a mustache. I’m sorry. I allowed my weakness for mustaches to overcome my duties as a friend. No, you wouldn’t look good with a mustache. I know that. You know that, too, and that’s why you never succumbed. Now I can admit that I was projecting. I think I may even have said to some of you, “I can’t grow a mustache, so you have to grow one for me.” This was not a very cis thing for me to say. None of you have to grow mustaches. 

4. Dewey Denouement

I was still calling myself a lesbian when I watched the last season of A Series Of Unfortunate Events, so I couldn’t acknowledge how sexy Schmidt NewGirl was with his stupid mustache as the Denouement triplets. Instead, I talked to really a shocking number of people about how absurd it was that he looked so good with a mustache. Like, I told my art teacher about this. I think I told my mom. And it’s true! He looks so good with a mustache. It caused me pain to look up a picture of him for this article. He’s so handsome, and so Jewish, and he looks better with a mustache than without one! Seriously, what’s up with that? Looking at him makes me angry for at least three reasons, and even one of those reasons should have been enough to alert me to the fact that I’m not a woman. 

5. Brian David Gilbert

Sometimes a man with painted nails who already makes you feel some pretty distinctly non-lesbian feelings grows a mustache and, instead of leaving the rage that sparks in you unexamined, you think, “Hm, maybe this should tell me something about myself.” And then you realize you’re transgender. Brian David Gilbert growing a mustache was not the sole reason I was able to come out to myself, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a significant contributor. Thanks BDG!


7 thoughts on “Five Influential Mustaches That, In Retrospect, Should Have Made Me Realize I’m Trans

  1. hedgewitch11 says:

    Heartily agree with all of this, save the notion that Westley’s energy is in any way heterosexual! Disguising one’s true self and only finding love once that truth is revealed seems quite inherently queer … though that could just be me, of course.


    • Neil says:

      You are so right about Westley. My biggest regret here is that I neglected him like that, especially since I noticed on my last viewing that he DOESN’T HAVE THE MUSTACHE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MOVIE. He goes away, changes his name, and grows a shitty mustache. It would be very difficult to find a narrative more textbook transmasc than that one.


  2. ED says:

    Of all the facial hair to envy, you chose the pencil moustache? I fear our tastes are doomed to differ – unless of course you too hold designer stubble in burning contempt – because so far as I’m concerned BEARDS are where it’s at (This just might be due to the fact I’ve wanted to be Obi-Wan Kenobi or some other majestically wizard figure of wisdom from a very early age).

    Not a huge, untidy, oh-god-the-matress-burst beard though; my hair is too curly to make me look like anything but Rasputin when it gets that long.


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