My good friend JT Hodges wrote a catchy little song “Girls Like It” and that is what I firmly believe about my Movember mustache. However, my wife has only tolerated my stache because of the charity it has produced. In fact, 5 years ago, my mouth brow nearly ruined our Christmas when I refused the shave it. Eventually, I caved, but there was a tremendous amount of yelling before I let my push broom fade into the night.
So why do men think mustaches are great, while women detest them? Is my house, my circle of friends, an isolated pocket of these feelings? We went to the internet to research the greatest, or worst men’s grooming trend of our time.
The History of the Cookie Duster
Shaving with stone razors was technologically possible from Neolithic times, but the oldest portrait showing a shaved man with a moustache is an ancient Iranian (Scythian) horseman from 300 BC.
Various cultures have developed different associations with moustaches. For example, in many 20th-century Arab countries, moustaches are associated with power. The moustache is also a religious symbol for the male followers of the Yarsan religion.
Western Cultural Shift
A traditional Indian belief is that a man's facial hair is a sign of his virility. This caused a problem during the time of British Raj in the 19th Century and, as a result, Indian moustaches had a profound effect on British facial hair. The British Army, who had up until that time were clean shaven, had difficulty maintaining authority among the Indian soldiers, who saw their officers' lack of a moustache, beard and sideburns as a lack of manliness. Eventually British officers began to cultivate moustaches and other facial hair to gain the respect of their troops. The trend of sporting a moustache spread quickly through the army and then back home amongst the general British civilian population.
At the start of the Victorian Era facial hair was "viewed with distaste" and that the moustache was considered the mark of an artist or revolutionary, both of which remained on the social fringe at the time. However, by the 1860s, this changed and moustaches become wildly popular even among distinguished men but by the end of the century facial hair became passé once more. Moustaches became a defining trait of the British soldier, as even late as 1908 no enlisted soldier was permitted to shave his upper lip. However, the next generation of men perceived facial hair, such as moustaches, to be an outdated emblem of masculinity and therefore there was a dramatic decline in the moustache trend and a clean-shaven face became the mark of a modern man. Source: Wikipedia.
Like all fashions, what goes around comes around. The rise of the mustache in American culture coincides with historical British trends. Recent fashion trend have been compressed due to technology advancements and shorter cultural cycles. According to the American Mustache Institute Reggie Jackson was the first player in 1971 to sport a soup strainer during a regular season game since the 1940’s. The 1970’s and early 80’s were the golden years of the American mustache.
The 1970’s followed through from the Summer of Love with decadence, free will and anti-establishment movements. The mustache became a sign of masculinity and coolness. All time great mustaches were born in the 70’s and early 80’s from Hollywood sex symbols like Tom Selleck and Burt Reynolds, Carl Weathers and Billy Dee Williams. The same trend carried into the rise of the porn industry. The hyper sexual culture and the rise of stag films ultimately lead to the downfall of what became known as the Porn Stache to many.
The mustachioed man was persona non grata for decades, but has seen a resurgence in the 2010’s as beards started to the lead the way for the more refined nose neighbor. But do women like the resurgence?
The Science behind the Lip Rug
In 2001 Nigel Barber published a study that analyzed British facial hair trends from 1842 – 1971 that ultimately concluded: That facial hair is worn to enhance a man's marriage prospects by increasing physical attractiveness and perception of social status.
In December 2015 The British Medical Journal published their study of medical leaders at top American Medical Schools. There findings showed that 19% of all medical department leaders had some form of mustache. Department heads from psychiatry had the highest mustache ratio of 31%, while plastic surgery had the lowest at 4%. The percentage of mustached leaders is significantly higher than the overall portion of American men with mustaches.
The American Mustache Institute partnered with Quicken to conduct a study in 2009 of 6,000 American men. The study found that men with mustaches earned 8.2% more than men with beards and 4.3% more than clean shaven men.
The Various Forms of the Flavor Savor
Not all crumb catcher’s are created equal. Each version of the fellowcro shows off their personality in a strong way.
#1 The Classic Mustache: The owner of the classic is most likely an avid outdoorsman with many talents such as canoe making and bear wrestling. His thick, luxurious upper-lip carpet, while impressive and with its very own intoxicating pheromones, pales in comparison to the furry sea of chest hair that’s just straining to come out from beneath his weathered flannel. This is the type of man who really knows how to make a woman weak in the knees with his rugged, effortless good looks and rippling muscles. Source: Cleo Andersen-Tarnell.
#2 The Horseshoe Mustache: A man who is rebellious, probably rides a chopper or is a professional wrestler. Source: Dana Oliver.
#3 The Handlebar Mustache: Any man who takes the time and effort to pull off the Handlebar has the respect of everyone around him. His attention to detail and constant stroking of his luxurious stache lets everyone know he is plotting something bigger than any of us can imagine. He is constantly using misdirection to obtain his ultimately goal of world domination, which no one would ever see coming as they’d be distracted by his monocle, top hat and dancing.
Outside of the most widely worn styles, men have numerous ways to express themselves through the glory of a hairy upper lip.
Source: British Medical Journal
But Do Woman Really like the Mouth Mirken?
According to Katie Chang, different women feel differently about the various styles guys are sporting these days. The most profound quote from Katie’s article was from Brooke, a singer and songwriter from Brooklyn, who isn’t a fan. “Handle bar mustaches are hard to pull off, and they look like you’re trying too hard,” she says. “However, the most stylish man I know has one, and it looks great on him.” Seems like woman don’t know what they like until they’ve seen it done properly.
For the most part is seems that men’s fascination with their own facial hair, and indifference by the fairer sex, is the same as women’s obsession with their eyelashes. A lot of men use their facial hair as an outward expression of who they are and how they compare to other men. While women are attracted to certain types of men that may or may express themselves through lip sweaters.
Ultimately, it all comes down to individual taste. As for me, I’ll be shaving off my Mr. Tickler, to keep my wife happy. Her preference is a clean shaving guy who does the dishes and takes out the trash.
Check Out Modrn Man Dan's Mustache Shaving Video