Long-time readers of these pages will know that I have struggled in the past with my tendency to go all Basil Fawlty in the presence of someone bearing an unfortunate resemblance to a famous person (you know what I mean: “That couple is German! Don’t mention the war!....’Good Goering!” um, er, I mean Good Morning!’”)
Such was my experience with my old coworker who looked so much like Monica Lewinsky that I sometimes convinced myself that it really was her going incognito to escape the unfairly-earned fellatial reputation. I found myself constantly, inadvertently talking about cigars, special prosecutors, etc, in an attempt to stop myself from blurting, “oh my god, you look exactly like the Portly Pepperpot!” V. smooth, E, very smooth.
The same thing occurred with another, later coworker who looked like Drew Carey…and she was a female. I stared at her so much in wonderment that I’m sure she thought I was secretly Sapphic with a thing for crew cuts.
Fast forward to today at JHU, where I sat for a whole hour next to Adolf Hitler’s spitting image. No kidding. Now, there are any number of people you don’t want to look like: Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Phil, Courtney Love, Shelley Winters; but you can’t beat looking like Hitler for the grand prize-winning Loser Lookalike honors.
As I pondered my predicament, or rather, his predicament, several thoughts came to me:
1. If your facial structure and eyes closely resemble Hitler’s you should more than likely avoid any facial hair in the top lip region.
2. If your moustache is graying you really need to make sure that the still-brown area does not form a small rectangle above the center of your lip. People can’t see the additional whiskers from even two feet away, making you look like you’re actually cultivating the 1930’s bizarre mustachioed look.
3. It is incumbent upon the family and friends of aging mustachioed men to monitor for this most unfortunate occurrence.
4. If you do happen to be working the small moustache, you need to avoid the side parted short hair that completes the look of syphilitic, genocidal madman. THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL.
5. Why do people who hew so closely to the teachings of Adolf Hitler not look more like him? Why are Aryans and skinheads not cultivating the whole “small moustache” mystique? Elvis superfans dress up like him; Groupies emulate their rock idols all the time (remember Madonna Wanna-Bes?). Why, Aryan Nation, do you not try to work the Springtime for Hitler look? Just wondering, since as far as I know, Hitler never shaved his head and wore leather. Nor was he blond and blue eyed…
6. If you find yourself sitting next to someone who does indeed look like Der Fuehrer, but he’s really just a rather nice older gentleman very obviously suffering from cancer to the extent that facial hair maintenance and appearance are the least of his concerns, all you can do is be friendly and polite. You know, just like I was. When I wished him a cheery Good Goering.