At present, I have a full beard. It’s a mess, a complete disaster really, but it’s full. Full, that is except for one place, right in the middle of my upper lip. Hair grows freely everywhere else, cheeks, chin, sideburns, even neck. But I lack the ability to grow hair directly in the middle of my face, just below my nose. The most front and center portion of my countenance has nary a hair. Right in the middle of my would-be-grand mustache, lies naked skin.
It has a name, and its name is “philtrum”?
As far as I can tell, I’ve never had any horrible accident that would prevent me from growing hair just under my septum. I don’t have any visible scars there and I’ve shied away from hazardous chemicals all of my days. I don’t think skin damage prevents me from growing a wondrous Tom Selleck-esque mustache. While I have a mild shame regarding my upper-middle lip baldness, it wasn’t enough to stop me from writing about it.
But what is it called? I’ve always just named it “the space in the middle of my upper lip”. Well, I guess it’s called a philtrum. This makes it sound like Phil is throwing a fit, but I’m sure it’s got a much more reasonable etymology. Still, I am tempted to name part of my body “Phil”, because named body parts are both cute and weird, and I’ve been labelled as both.
It’s a challenge living with mustache-envy. Of course it could be worse, I could lack the ability to grow lip hair of any amount. But to come so close to gloriously covering my sub-nasal region with luxurious hair, and yet lack philtrum hair is disheartening. Like nearly winning a 5k run, only to be passed in the final moments by a better looking version of yourself. Everyone cheers for the other person, and you get a silver medal. You go home with “close one, pal. Maybe next time.”
“What do I do with all this space?”
My naked philtrum leaves a gap in my heart as well as my mustache. I’d much prefer to grow hair there, but the available real estate allows for a manly medusa should I elect to make it my first piercing.
I could get a little (very little) tattoo of something important to me. Would it be too meta and clever to get a tattoo of hair there? Probably. You never want to be too meta or too clever.
While I can’t say I’d trade anything bodily for the ability to grow philtrum hair, I would trade worldly goods. I can see offering 1000 dollars to fill the hair void created by my hairless philtrum. Beyond that, I would have to consult the wife. Some might see paying for philtrum hair as superfluous. These people probably either can already grow hair there or they can’t grow hair at all.
What is a philtrum for?
Apparently, there is no known reason why we have this groovy groove in our lips. But I can hopefully attest that its sole purpose is not to grow facial hair. I must take comfort in the reality that many beautiful people (my wife and my daughter among others) lack the ability to grow bountiful bushy hair on their philtrums. I can also revel in my inability to grow a Hitler mustache, even if I wanted to.
There is an interesting fable that attempts to claim the origin of the philtrum. It is said that unborn children know everything and to prevent them from spreading all of this wisdom on humanity, and angel presses a finger on the lips. This indentation, from the angelic finger, is the mark of a baby ignoramus. If this story were true, teenagers would lose their philtrums because by then they know everything, thus invalidating the angel fingerprint.
As for my infranasal depression, it serves as a humbling reminder that I can not have perfect facial hair.
No matter how smooth I groom my hair to be, my philtrum you will always see.
That was a poem. And with that I conclude my lamentation.
Do you also desire but lack philtrum hair? Hit me up in the comments. We’ll cry together.