I have been devoting a lot of time to a new activity. An activity that involves me sitting, concentrating very hard and focusing my energy into one very specific action. It is, I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to hear, the action of growing a moustache.

I come from a family of moustachioed men. My granda and several of his brothers have been sporting moustaches of various shapes and sizes for decades. Thick, bristly, stripes of hair above their top lips. So lustrous, so dense, that they’re almost intimidating. The few remaining pictures of my granda’s da and uncles reveal the McQueer Moustache dynasty stretches back for generations.

Now the time has come for me to join these illustrious ranks. I have been trying for years to grow a presentable moustache. Back when I was seventeen, I let the hair on my top lip grow for a few weeks. It was sparse, wiry and all together very unpleasant to look at. I even got taken aside my boss in the sports shop and he ‘advised’ me to think about shaving it off, saying it looked ‘a bit weird’. It did look very weird. It is a bit of a trope in American teen comedies that the guy with the terrible, wispy moustache is a weirdo and there to be laughed at. This was, I realised, who I had become. So off it came and off it remained for several years.

A wee while later I let my facial hair grow, hoping for it to turn into a beard. It didn’t but I was blessed with a slightly more imposing moustache. Still not great by any stretch of the imagination but it could certainly be defined as a moustache, albeit very loosely fitting the specifications.

It came off in no time at all though as at the pub, my pal turned to his pal and said, ‘What do you make of his wee tache?’ and nodded at me. I searched this guy’s face for any signs that he was even slightly impressed by it. ‘Aw,’ he replied. ‘Is that what that is?’ If you look up the word ‘crestfallen’ in the dictionary now there’s a picture of me next to it.

But over lockdown, with nowhere to go and no need to worry about what people think about the way I look since most of my face is hidden under a mask whenever I go outside, I have become free to just let my moustache grow. And grow it has.

I feel it has imbued me with power. I can feel the very same inherent coolness my granda exhibited in the 70s emanating from me as well. I caught myself at the shop, deciding on what cans to get on Saturday night and instead of some hipster nonsense, I felt drawn to cans of stout. I no longer want a light refreshing lager, I want a pint of heavy. The notion of wearing a suit to the pub, again like my granda in the 70s, crossed my mind. I saw myself sitting in the corner of the darkest grubbiest pub I could find, the head of my pint dappled across my new moustache. Maybe, I thought, I’m going to have to start smoking to complete this look.

With the power this new moustache gives me though, comes great responsibility. Who would you turn to in times of crisis? In a really, excuse the pun, hairy situation? You’d look to the guy who has the perfect moustache. The guy who has so delicately cultivated this facial decoration over many months, trimming it, smoothing it down, even combing it. A guy who can take care of such a thing, who has the confidence to pull it off and not care what anyone thinks, can surely take care of anything? You’d trust anything a guy with a moustache said to you. What if there was some situation I found myself in, where it was all truly kicking off, and everyone around me was losing their heads? All I’d be able to think about was that these people are going to look to me to take control of the situation and I know for a fact I would let them all down. ‘I’m sorry,’ I’d sob, a hand covering my moustache. ‘I’m a fraud. Don’t look at me.’

While I’m not sure even the thickest, fullest moustache will ever help me to exude confident masculine energy, it does seem to make me look at least a wee bit older. When I was buying a few cans the other day, I put them through the self-checkout and an assistant came over to verify my age. He said, ‘Can you pull down your mask for me?’ and I obliged. I gently pulled it down, allowing the moustache to peek out, rising up like a tidal wave of hair. The wee guy took one look at it and smashed the ‘customer is clearly over 25’ button on the machine. The first time I haven’t been asked for ID when buying drink. What a feeling. This moustache is here to stay.