Your Mustache Makes Me Gag

7 12 2010

I was standing in line at Potbelly on Friday, just quietly contemplating whether I was more in the mood for roast beef or tuna salad, when the young man standing in front of me turned his head about 30 degrees to the right to reveal the two-inch long, reddish brown, twisted and waxed-out mustache protruding from his face.  I actually threw up in my mouth a little, and by that I mean literally gagged up a variety of stomach acids into my mouth cavity at the sight of this repulsive, narcissistic, hair-product-encrusted atrocity poking out of this man’s face.  It was all I could do not to grab it and yank it as hard as I could until he screamed for mercy and then say, “Oh, my bad. I didn’t realize that was supposed to be there.”

Exacerbating the unspeakable grossness of this man’s pointy, perpetually wet-looking mustache were an ironic Fidel Castro hat, neon hipster sneakers and prescriptionless thick-rimmed glasses.

Fidel Castro=Cuban dictator

You=huge tool.

This got me thinking about mustaches in general and how creepy they are when men grow them to get attention, and how this “Movember” trend of dudes growing mustaches through the month of November to raise money for charity actually has a negative net impact on the world. Sure, that cancer foundation you say you’re donating the money to will have an extra $159 to continue to not come up with a cure for anything, but everyone who has the great misfortune of standing near your face during that month has to deal with the emotional anguish of an image that’s burned into their brains forever.  Do the ends really justify the means?

Be honest: you’re not growing that mustache because you think the proceeds will cure cancer. You’re growing it because you love the idea of people having to discuss your face every time they see you.  You love the feeling of power you get when somebody reaches into her wallet and hands you a $5 bill for no reason other than the fact that your hair follicles are functioning on schedule.  You want people to take a look at that big roach stretched across your upper lip and know that A) you have enough testosterone to squeeze out a real mustache, and B) you are so cool and confident that you are willing to sacrifice being attractive for the sake of “charity.”

Well I’m hip to your tricks, mustachioed men, and I would like to state for the record that there is only one person in the world who can pull off a thick manly mustache without any surrounding facial hair to dilute its impact, and his name is Tom Selleck.

Please take a good, hard look at this picture.  If this man is not you, then do us all a favor and promptly shave your charitable ironic mustache so I can go back to keeping my food down.

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10 responses

7 12 2010
bros

apparently you’ve never seen your uncle without a mustache. if you had, you would know that some men have heads so large that a mustache becomes necessary to visually break up the length of the face and divide it into two manageable halves, with the mustache acting as an anchoring focal point.

trust.

7 12 2010
districtramblings

Yes, Uncle Steve is hereby exempt from my mustache rant.

7 12 2010
Ben

I think this is a clear cut case of mustache envy.

7 12 2010
geof

That is one sweet stache on Tom.

7 12 2010
G.g

BWAAH HA HA HA HA HA!!!!
(…and don’t forget to check out: http://www.worldbeardchampionships.com)

7 12 2010
IMP

A couple things (in addition to Ben’s spot-on ‘stache-envy diagnosis):
1. Facial hair’s sometimes all we got. In a world in which too much attention to the hair on the top and back and upper sides of one’s own male head is considered vain, metrosexual or worse, or is downright besides the point (QV the Monopoly Man), the hair on the front and lower sides of the head (aka ‘face’) take on the character-expressive attributes with which women are like born imbuing their hairdos.
2. Now, I can read, so I realize that you qualified your diatribe against facial hair by singling out mustaches “without surrounding facial hair to dilute [their] impact.” But also in that sentence you said “pull off a thick manly mustache,” and herein lies the rub; most mustache-growers, especially those of the ilk that pull your disgorge trigger, aren’t trying to be “manly.” As I see it, the thousand-thousand varieties of mustaches and mustache-growers fall basically into three venn-diagrammish categories: the utilitarian, the earnest, and the playful.
The utilitarian, in addition to Uncle Steve’s exemplary explanation, also inlcudes those (and this is probably the largest contingent of mustachioed men) who just sort of have mustaches. They started growing them in their mid- to late-20s, they became part of their face and thus their persona, and they care for them in the same way that they care for their hair: matter-of-factly, pompless and sans circumstance. This is manly. This is Selleck.

The earnest is the least appealing, found as it is most often on people whose faces no mustache was ever meant to adorn, i.e., the peripubescent who convinces himself that the handful of cashmerey strands above his lip takes the doe out of his eyes, or the fatally shy, whispy-haired introvert who’s plumb run out of alternatives to express himself and is scrabbling for any approximation of “cool,” no matter how far-fetched or skewed his understanding of the term and/or concept. The earnest is also unappealing when it is employed as a disguise. I’m not talking a Groucho Marx stache-nose-and-glasses type disguise, I’m talking oversized-tires-liftkitted-truck compensation type disguise. A disguise to hide doubt, fear, shame, lies or simply a plain old lack of self-confidence. This is not manly, and no matter how thick that ‘stache may be, it’s definitely not Selleck.

The playful – ah, it is the playful who give vibrancy, vitality, vim & vigor to the ‘stache! And we have Selleck to thank for this, in some ways, as well, especially those of us reared in the 80s and later, during the decline and fall of The Hirsute Man (and – Woman, though that’s a-whole-nother shaving discussion altogether…) and the rise and reign of Irony and Satire. But many who are pre-Selleck and/or a-satire look upon the mustache as a thing of a simple joy and fun. Even the utilitarian is often playful, and the ‘stace’s playfulness has entered into the utilitarian’s persona in that same subtle and indivisble way that its origin, matter-of-factness and permanence have.

And I think that imbuing a charitable cause with a bit of fun is a pretty awesome thing. Sure, your standard hipster-on-the-street may have a cup of earnestness where the recipe called for a teaspoon, but it’s not his fault that Satire and Irony have taught him that the art of playfulness is deadly serious (and to be honest, I think it was a cheap trick to throw the Castro hat in, cuz that could jade the staunchest ‘stache supporter). And the truly playful utilitarian gets a kick out of Movember, cuz he gets to chide the newbie ‘stachioers like a beatific guru.

Give the Movemberites some cred – I think the men (and boys) (and guys) who grew their lip hair out for a cause did so with less vanity and less seriousness than say, the women who go get pink highlights in their $200 haircuts.

Peace and lip hair.

7 12 2010
districtramblings

I appreciate your thoughtful response, IMP, and would like to address some of the issues you raised.

First of all, I would like to make crystal clear that I am, generally, a lover of facial hair on men. I love a good 3-day scruff, a 5 o’clock shadow, or a longer but well-groomed beard that doesn’t require hair wax to maintain its general shape and structure. I would go so far as to say that I prefer these natural facial hair configurations over a clean-shaven face.

Things I do not appreciate: solo mustaches, and particularly the ones that protrude far out from the face, fu manchus, soul patches, and that thing I don’t know what it’s called where you connect the stache to the chin hair by a thin line and shave everything else. But my personal facial hair preferences are beside the point.

You brought up the vanity and seriousness of women who go get pink highlights, as if I was saying that men with mustaches are the only vain people in the world. No, of course women can be vain. I spend lots of money on haircuts to achieve just the right amount of layering and the ideal bang length to frame my face. But I don’t pretend like I’m doing this for any other reason than trying to make myself pretty. If those women spending money on pink highlights said they were doing that for a charitable cause, I would have the same problem with it that I do with Movember mustaches.

As to your distinction between the 3 kinds of staches, I concede that you’re right about the utilitarian one. I don’t really have a problem with men who just have mustaches all the time because they feel like it and don’t think about it much– it’s more the kind of person who grows one for one month a year who bothers me, or the kind of person who makes a big theatrical deal out of his ‘stache by twisting it up and putting all kind of product in it or cutting it into various shapes. It’s just gross and obnoxious.

7 12 2010
swirlz

not to be gay or anything, but Ryan Gosling rocks a pretty nice stache. Everytime I try, my wife laughs and refuses to go outside with me–probably because I look like a vato from Blood In, Blood Out.

7 12 2010
graber

you hate it because it’s socially unacceptable for you to wax out your stache. Also, never got the the whole “movember” thing? Seriously, does it stand for something? At least “No Shave November” sounds reasonable.

7 12 2010
Ben

I’m with graber, I never really got the Movember thing, it’s really uncreative. I prefer the suggestion “No Shave November” plus you can turn that into NoShavember. Besides, Manuary makes far more sense than Movember.

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