The Man with the Handlebar Mustache

mustache man

(photo by Darrell Miller)

Ascending the escalator towards Gate 224 was a gentleman in a pin-striped navy suit jacket, lemony linen shorts and boat shoes. We stood on the same line for the express bus.

He turned around, looking in the direction of hopefully soon-to-be oncoming buses, and said, “What do you think will come next, a 162 or 163T?”

There was a mischievous twinkle in his eye, as if we were playing a game. His white handlebar mustache and round greenish-brown-tinted sunglasses added to his mystique.

I smiled and said, “I don’t know. I leave it to you.”

“I predict it will be a 162: they usually follow the 144.”

He had the mien of George Plimpton or Peter O’Toole: the height, the long limbs, the carriage, the comfort in his own skin. Underneath the jacket he wore a button-down dress shirt and delicately patterned pink bow tie.

Within five minutes, the 162 bus barreled through. The gentleman turned around at me and smiled. I smiled back.

“You were right!” I said.

No smugness in his victory, only playfulness and fun.

I wondered about him—did he own a yacht, why did he live in New Jersey, why would a man like him take the bus?

A young man standing between us on line turned to me and said, “Do you want to sit together?”

“No, we don’t know each other,” I said.

The gentleman exited the bus in Hackensack. I didn’t picture him as a Hackensack resident. He seemed more a Cherry Hill sort, but that’s another bus line. A Billy Joel line ran through my head, “Who needs a house out in Hackensack, is that all you get for your money?”

People continue to amaze me. I suppose that’s a good thing.


7 thoughts on “The Man with the Handlebar Mustache

  1. was a gentleman in a pin-striped navy suit jacket, lemony linen shorts and boat shoes.

    Right there I knew he had mystical powers. Everyone who does not, dresses in urban camouflage so as not to be visible to the predators.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful writing Erica. I feel transported into another time…yet here we are 2015 and men are sporting great handlebar mustaches, wearing fashionable duds, and feeling their inner flames burn brightly in the spirits of Oscar Wilde and F. Scott Fitzgerald. We are after all at the turn of a new century…I wonder if his little house is filled with books and memories?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My boyfriend has a red handlebar mustache, which I adore. He likes it, well, because I like it, but also because it functions as a barrier breaker. All kinds of people stop to say, “Hey, great stash!” Little kids biking with their parents, old women in the grocery store, middle-age Latinos (of course then it’s ‘mustachio’). He likes that people from all walks of life feel comfortable to speak to him, or even just give a nod and a smile. Glad I stopped by to say hi again, and thank you for following my blog!


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