We all know that most men would rather chew off their right leg than seek out a new trend – say, the new statement bag from Dolce. Yet ask a man to grow some facial hair, throw in an element of charitable goodwill and, well, we’re onto something.
The moustache – one of the few things shared by revolutionaries, artists, musicians, 1970s dads, serial killers and dictators. Whether it be the hipster version of machismo, the “Handlebar”, the “Pencil” or the “Western walrus”, this Movember, many will try; few will succeed.
Poor chaps – I feel for you, I really do. It isn’t easy, is it? You’re chastised for sticking to the safety-in-numbers code (short back and sides with a clean shave) and hung out to dry if you dare to experiment.
Yet Movember gives an excuse; a point to preening the plumes. The charity side of things provides a much-needed pass, so the world is absolutely clear that usually you wouldn’t give the authoritative ’tache more than a smirk.
Normally, I’d start with a few don’ts, begging you to stay away from the gimmicks, unless the rest of your attire is hands-in-the-air exciting. But, alas, this is a month for the impostor, so we’ll allow you to revel in all your Freddie Mercury glory.
A “good” moustache, however, isn’t a free-for-all. It needs deliberating, planning and mulling over – everything gentlemen tend to hate. So here are a few pointers that you may wish to ponder.
Let’s start with the “Macho”, also fondly known as the “Selleck” (after Tom Selleck), which was popularised in the 1970s and 80s in American culture – it involves covering the area between the nose and the upper lip in full. These days, perhaps solely reserved for the kidnapper look, it certainly isn’t going to give you a leg up to the world’s best-dressed list. But if smoke-tint lenses, polyester and white vans are your thing, then it’s up for grabs.
One needs to adopt a certain element of fun to pull off the “Dalí”, for attaining an air of nonchalance is more difficult than one would think. Named after the surrealist painter, the shape is formed by long, tapered points that curve steeply upwards towards the cheek. An alpha-male lady-killer you are not.
Next come the “Handlebar” and the “Horseshoe”. The first, according to the official Handlebar Club, must have “graspable extremities” to count; the second consists of a full moustache with vertical extensions from the corners of the lips to the jaw. Owning either is a commitment. Think modern cowboy or Hulk Hogan.
For those who struggle to grow more than a few whiskers... well, I’m sorry about that. It must be tough for you out there. The “Pencil”, a neat fine line on the upper lip popularised by Clark Gable (who somehow made it mannerly and manly), may be a good option.
Let’s wrap things up with the “Toothbrush”, a funny little number that involves cropping the edges to line up with each nostril. It was once popularised by Charlie Chaplin – and later forever ruined by a particularly monstrous German dictator.
For all of the above, wear at your own risk. And remember, without a hefty lick of irony or dandyism, what we’re looking at might come off as earth-shudderingly sinister.
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