A moustache (US /ˈmʌstæʃ/ or UK /məˈstɑːʃ/; American English: mustache) is facial hair grown on the upper lip. It may or may not be accompanied by a type of beard, a facial hair style grown and cropped to cover most of the lower half of the male face. Moustaches can be groomed by trimming and styling with a type of pomade called moustache wax.
The above description is taken from wikipedia about the ultimate male adornment, the moustache. Some may say beard, but for me, the moustache wins hands down every time.
If you look at photographs from a few hundred years ago, say from circa the 1800s onwards, the trend was for men to adorn themselves with much facial hair (those who could, at least).
There were lamb chop/mutton chop sideburns/breezers, those gloriously thick affairs, then there were the ‘coutured look’ thin sideburns which, hugged the face and tapered down to a sharp point.
Now we come to moustaches. Man’s crowning glory and the mark of boyhood into manood for most spotty teens. Commonly known as ‘bumfluff’ referring to the soft downey hair on one’s buttocks, most young adult males eagerly awaited the day when their top lips began to sprout the badge of maturity and honour known as the moustache, although as noted, if the thatch was bare and fluffy and NOT course and rough…it was immediately labelled bumfluff and gave rise to derisive comments from older males such as ‘If you put some cream on that, the cat will lick it off for you.’ Or…sometimes, ‘Is that a moustache or just your eyebrow down for a drink?’
The most horrible thing for any male was for the ‘tache to grow in as…RED!!! (gasp, shock, horror). Colourists immediately spotted this orangey caterpiller on your lip and fell into paroxysms of laughter, whilst pointing their accusing index fingers at the poor unfortunate, who only wished to join the ranks of their fellow moustachios.
Yes….the ultimate in style was the super cool, thick and lustrous, but neatly trimmed BLACK MOUSTACHE. In second place comes the varying shades of brown, from dark to mid…but NEVER, I repeat, NEVER, light, blonde or RED!
Of course for gingers and descendents of gingers like myself, my moustache comes in as RED! That genetic flaw, my friends comes from being descended from the mad Scottish outlaw Gorbals MacDunnigan who was forever being caught
on account of his wild, flaming red hair and straggly, long beard.
Known locally as Carrots MacDunnigan, he tried everything to hide his identity from dying his hair and beard in a bucket of peated water to covering it in….wait for it….cowpats, to hide his glowing bonce and beard.
Now don’t ask what that done for his sex life but what MacDunnigan hadn’t planned on, was the flies. rather than blending in with his fellow brown and dark hairs, he was always caught for being covered in shite flies, so unofrtunately, this feeble reiver was doomed to failure.
But let us away, and return to the moustache or mouse-tash as some resembled a verminous condition of the stiff upper lip. Over the years many men have given way to that emasculating, de-masculine effeminate process of becoming a metrosexual and like the ladies with their hidden parts, have shaved off their badge of glory.
Some men sported their moustaches proudly and in the 1930s to 1950s we had Clark Gable, Gone with the Wind, Errol Flynn, Robin Hood, Douglas Fairbanks, Zorro. All these proudly flaunted their thatch. In the 70s too, the moustache was ‘king.’ Men like Peter Wyngarde, Dept S, Tom Sellick, MAGNUM PI, wore their tache as a mark of manliness.
As far as males go, the amazing range of moustache styles never ceases to amaze. We’ve had the short, clipped, wax job, David Suchet, Poirot, the RAF ‘wings’ of the handlebar moustache (see accompanying image) Jimmy Edwards, Whacko, the almost ‘mouth obscuring’ walrus moustache, Pa Broon, Dick Strawbridge et al and the zapata, so proudly shown in the spaghetti western genre, and the romantic style of tash, never failing to impress the women, is the Tom Sellick version (see fandomania, moustachioed heroes).
Lastly we come to the short, pedantic style. Two immediate personalities spring to mind,one who made the world laugh and the other, who made the world tremble… Both of whom sported that little obscurity known as the ‘toothbrush’ moustache. 1. Charlie Chaplin and 2. Adolf Hitler.
lastly into the fray, come the pretenders to the throne….the fakes…(dah, dah, dah!) Probably one of the most famous of the ‘painted on’ moustache brigade was none other than the master of quick repartee and the slick one liner punchline, Groucho Marx.
He claimed he’d lost his fake moustache one night in vaudeville theatre and had to paint one on and found to his delight and amazement that it got loads of laughs and since that time, Marx decided to adopt it and a wise move it was too, the painted on job becoming his trademark eventually.
I remember some years ago now, seeing a Liverpool band called Deaf Schbool onstage and was aghast to find that the lead singer had…shock, horror, a painted on job too!!!
But fear not, the moustache is not dead, merely resting in between jobs, as thespians are wont to say. I myself (Marty Java) sport a fake, which allows me to have a bald lipp-ed alter ego at times.
I like my fake moustache, because it doesn’t need trimmed or dyed. However, I am seriously toying with the idea of growing a ‘real’ one again, but if it grows in ‘red’ then I’ll be first to be reaching for the black dye! 🙂