I had it even before I hit puberty—that furry thing that lives on my top lip. It’s been there since time immemorial and I used to blame it on the Greek in me until I saw the Australian girls walking around with blonde furry things living on their top lips. In fact, I think most of us have them. It’s a blessed woman that doesn’t have to live with a femtash.
Mine is very fine; it feels vaguely like the downy back of a duckling if you brush your finger upwards against the grain. It’s lighter in the middle but towards the edges of my mouth it becomes a little darker, and a little thicker, and if you lean in close you can definitely see it. I’ve never had food caught in it, but as a teenager my poorly applied makeup would cake into it accentuating the little hairs, and in the heat of summer it becomes embellished with a sweaty sheen (which is better than a Charlie Sheen), that not only draws attention to the furry thing living on my top lip, but that prompts friends to say things like, ‘oh you got some water on your upper lip.’
As a teenager, the furry thing on my top lip went through many a trauma—from bleaching to waxing to plucking to finally being swabbed with ice and tea tree oil to just get the motherfucking redness to GO DOWN GOD DAMN IT, and it’s a wonder I still have any skin left on that most tender of bodily surfaces. Indeed, one time I had to stay home from school in morbid embarrassment from having burnt the skin on my upper lip a raw, near bleeding red in an attempt to extra-blonde my femtash by leaving the peroxide on it for five minutes longer than advised on the box.
Over the years, my mo has served as an amazing source of inspiration for other people’s jokes, which have centered on me being Greek (obviously the most original), a boy, a gorilla, a werewolf, or all of the above. I don’t think anyone actually stopped to consider a. how cool it would be if I were a werewolf and b. how fucked they would be if I were a werewolf.
Recently, I’ve started The Process Of Letting Go, which involves Not Worrying So Much About The Things I Can’t Change and Learning To Love My Femtash. Don’t get me wrong—I still freak out about how thick it’s going to be when I’m an old yiayia (my yiayia’s looks like a man’s, very long and coarse. It makes her look ancient and a bit witchy, especially when its partnered with the single, extra long hair growing out of her chin) but I’ve learned how to be calm when I’ve run out of face bleach and I’m too broke to buy more.
I’ve found that the less pruning and preening I have to do, the more time I have on my hands to do things that I actually enjoy—I have more time to spend with my friends, more time to read, more time to write, and more time to sit around stewing in my own filth and sweat without worrying about a few nearly transparent hairs that my own dysmorphic views deem inappropriately placed. Besides, Frieda Kahlo had one, and was pretty dammned proud of it too.