Growing up, I never gave much thought to the mustache. That’s not to say that I didn’t like the style – far from it, considering every adult male (and even some of the older females who stopped giving a fuck) in my family sport or sported a mustache until the day they died. More likely, I just took the style for granted and didn’t realize its importance until it was gone, sort of like The Office’s writers and Steve Carell.
Up until recently I was the first adult male in my family not to rock the upper-lip-caterpillar. It never really occurred to me to even give it a shot, mostly because I assumed I wasn’t man enough to do it.
But some conspicuously placed mustachios in pop culture made me rethink my position – Ron Burgundy, Ron Swanson, Sterling Archer any time he goes undercover. After seeing those powerful visages, one thing led to another, and I started boning up on my ‘70s and ‘80s movies and TV.
Burt Reynolds wouldn’t have carried even half the sex appeal in Smokey and the Bandit if he weren’t rocking the womb-broom. MJ rocked it. Larry Legend rocked it. It’s even made a comeback in sports. Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers have both worn the horseshoe in the very recent past. Steven Adams and Bora… I mean Enes Kanter both look way more menacing patrolling the paint with their mustaches than they would without. I’m confident Draymond would have done far worse damage to Adams’s family jewels had the mustachioed Kiwi left his lip sweater at home.
So, with some encouragement from my little brother, I went ahead and grew one. I started the process by growing the “full” beard out first – full being somewhat of a misnomer given that it’s patchy on my cheeks and tends to be fuller in the neck than other, more desirable areas. But I did the full beard because I had pity on my parents and brothers. I, too, would be mortified to be seen with me, mustache half-grown, at Church or other functions of respectable society. But when the mustache part was long enough, I clipped the rest of the beard and let the ol’ fanny duster fly free.
It was at this point that I grew nervous. How would people react when they saw me? Would my mustache, widely considered a symbol of power in the 20th Century, alienate me from my friends and coworkers? And the women – would women my age be interested in a man sporting their fathers’ facial hair? My daddy-issues sensor says yes but the fact that I’m living at home while studying for the bar exam says it’s not something I’ll have to worry about as long as my living situation remains the same.
But why should I worry so much? Now I’m convinced that the mustache is a physical manifestation of IDGAF. What says “no fucks left to give” more than wearing a thick patch of hair on the most ridiculous spot on your face? Objectively, a mustache is an absurd fashion choice, so wearing one says to people you interact with, “yeah, I look ridiculous. What of it?”
Of course, this only applies if the ‘stache is respectable. If you look like a pedophile or ‘90s porn director (that was probably redundant) then yes, please shave. I’ll freely admit that I’m no Ron Swanson or Tom Selleck. But I think what I’ve got would give early ‘80s Burt Reynolds a run for his money any day of the week.
It turns out my worries were ridiculous. The reception has been overwhelmingly positive and my life has improved beyond my wildest dreams, or somewhere around there. I get (totally sincere) compliments weekly at Church and mostly from people my age. My play in pick-up basketball has inexplicably improved, probably because dudes respect the ‘stache and give me more space to work with – who’s going to show up for pick up ball wearing a mustache if they’re not actually good? I’m just waiting on them to call my bluff. Even the managing partner of my office told me it looks great and he’s cool with a mustache in the office so long as it’s not a “porno ‘stache.” His words, not mine.
So, dear reader, I’m going to assign you some homework. Go watch Smokey and the Bandit. Watch Magnum P.I. Watch the first three seasons of Parks and Rec. Watch some Dream Team highlights. Check your workplace facial hair policy. Some of us are fortunate enough to have workplaces tolerant of traditional facial hair styles.
For those of you who are not so lucky, consider that even if you lose your job for facial hair reasons you’ll be making cash hand over fist with all the mustache rides you’ll sell. And after all that, summon up the courage to grow a lady tickler of your own. Sure, Donald Trump has his thing and all, but this is the true way to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain..