BRING BACK THE ‘STACHE. | MEN, MUSTACHES, MARVELS AND MISSTEPS

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I’ll say it– I’m a fan of the mustache.  Sadly, we saw the ‘stache fall largely by the wayside over the past few decades as pretty boys seemed fixated on primping, grooming, moisturizing, metrosexualizing, etc. in a vain and sissy attempt to one-up the ladies in the looks department.  Let the ladies be pretty.  Let the men be men.  I say — Bring. Back. The. ‘Stache.  Not the pencil-thin, or micro groomed razor-sharp manifestations that border on ridiculous.  Not the peach-fuzz, thin-lipped scummer ‘stache.  Not the Teddy Roosevelt waxed work-of-art on some hipster who lacks respect and context.  I’m talkin’ about an honest, unassuming mustache that’s there because it fits the wearer’s form and finishes him off– like dotting an “i”, crossing a “t”, or adding an exclamation point.

Now consider yourself warned — the mustache can cut both ways.  While it can add character and distinction, balance your features, etc. — it can also make you look like a total _____ .  So tread carefully, and be honest with yourself — because it ain’t for everyone.  Ask Sean Penn.

And feel free to send in your favorite shots — the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

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Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail (1973).  I’ve always liked Jack with a ‘stache.  Menacing.

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Circa 1970 — Robert Redford on his Utah mountain ranch.  Nobody could ride the ‘stache like Redford.  Image by John Dominis

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Charles Bronson –1970’s vigilante badass who let his mustache do the talkin’

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Frank Zappa — Arguably the ultimate mustachioed rock star to ever walk the planet.  –Photo by Jerry Schatzberg, New York City, 1967

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Ted Nugent — The Mustachioed Motor City Madman.

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Facial hair of the gods — Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Bonham with their awards after being voted top group in the 1970 Melody Maker Awards. — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

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John Bonham of Led Zeppelin in a mustache mood, taking a break from the full beard.

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By popular demand– The Beatles (John, Paul, George & Ringo) in all their mustachioed glory.  Good call.

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Circa 1970 — David Crosby holds a toy gun to his head while smoking a doobie. — Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

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Dennis Hopper in his epic role as Billy in Easy Rider (which he also directed).

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Circa 1979 — Actor Gene Hackman — Image by © John Bryson/Sygma/Corbis

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Circa 1978 — Richard Pryor and Louis Gossett Jr. in Gossett’s dressing room.  Image by Larry Armstrong

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Circa 1958 — The legendary Jackie Gleason donning a mustache.  Image by Robert W. Kelley

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Gregory Peck looking a little edgy in Aviator shades and ‘stache plus combo

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Ernest Hemingway reading his notes, Sun Valley, Idaho — Image by Robert Capa (1940-41).

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Portrait of author Ernest Hemingway, Cuba 1952. — Image by Alfred Eisenstaedt

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51 thoughts on “BRING BACK THE ‘STACHE. | MEN, MUSTACHES, MARVELS AND MISSTEPS

  1. They do add a certain dash, and I like them as long as I don’t have to contemplate kissing the lips beneath one.

  2. Seriously, not a fan of the “stache” much on me but it def works on some people and can change a look completely. There’s a great pic of my great grandfather working the “Clark Gable” thin stache and it looks awesome!

  3. This is apocryphal, but I heard in a college class that mustaches went out of style because they became associated with rapists. Really. According to the story (again, no primary source), a criminal would grow a ‘stache, commit the crime, and shave the ‘stache. Don’t know if this ever was a real occurrence, but I remember it does happen in ‘The World According To Garp’.

    One of my favorite mustaches can be seen on the grinning lumberjack in your Dorothea Lange post.

  4. I love this blog, but I gotta differ on this point – mustaches do not rock. There are of course exceptions – Zappa, Redford, Hemingway, Peck – but I can’t see a ‘stache without thinking ’70s porn or donut shop cops.

    Nevermind that though. This is still the greatest blog ever.

  5. I think another reason for the decline of the moustache is its association with homosexual men. Think of the leather man in The Village People, or Freddy Mercury, and you know what I mean.

    Also, a moustache makes some men look jowly–never a good look for anyone.

    Personally, a moustache doesn’t work on my face, but a goatee does. Regardless, proper facial hair is manly.

    • Intentional “ad nauseam” omissions:

      1. Rollie Fingers
      2. Burt Reynolds (he blew it going sand mustache in Deliverance, BTW)
      3. Tom Selleck

      JP

  6. love the blog…. been hooked for a while. the absolute mustache bible photo is the rubber soul record cover.

  7. This morning, our local paper, the Fargo Forum, ran an article questioning whether the governor here in ND has a chance at winning a vacant senate seat, since there are currently no US Senators with mustaches – and they ran pictures of almost all of them to prove it!

  8. I haven’t seen my upper lip since Sept. 1970. It was the month I entered college and was inspired by all my rock star favorites. Over the years it became my identity and made it impossible for me to shave it. Two of my favorites that were not included (but should be) are Sam Elliott and the “genious” himself, Albert Einstein.

  9. My vote’s with Charles Bronson. He’s the only guy that looks like he was born with it, it’s so natural & ‘at one’ with his face. Thanks for reminding me what a handsome man he is.

  10. I absolutely LOVE the photo of Gregory Peck. What a man.

    …but I gotta say, no list like this is complete without a shot of Freddie Mercury. He crosses boundaries.

    • There is nothing quite so masculine as facial hair, as only grown men can do it.

      However, there is nothing so un-masculine as homosexuality. I think that moustaches were popular among homosexual men because they realized, if only inchoately, that they were the least masculine men around, and that it was unnatural to be so non-masculine. Growing facial hair was one way to partially reclaim what they had willingly relinquished.

      So Freddy Mercury is out.

  11. I enjoy just about everyone pictured in this post (and for that matter, every post in this blog!), but NONE SO MUCH as the early 70s Redford. Hoo boy, who will ever follow him? & I hardly recognized Atticus here – looking a little Pacino-esque to me!

  12. I’m actually a recent convert to the mustache. When I was a kid, my uncle Tom was a firefighter with bright red hair and a long (and I mean like a-year-to-grow long) waxed mustache. So long, in fact, that the only way he could pass inspection at the FD was to twist up the ends and tuck them in his mouth to hide it, and they’d let it slide.

    He was my favorite uncle, but I never thought I could rock the ‘stache. A goatee, sure, but not a mustache. A friend of mine convinced me to give it a shot, and now, 2.5 months in, I love it and get tons of compliments. It’s definitely a learning process (having a hairstyle beneath your nose), but well worth it. Long live the ‘stache!

  13. the advent over the past seasons of the porn-stache has kinda wrecked any chances for the awaited resurgence of the mustache.
    we are quite overdue for a rescue from the non-edgy goatee.

  14. “what a terribly ill-informed, broad-brush comment.”

    Oh, did I forget to be PC and think that homosexuality was just another “lifestyle” choice, as equally valid as any other? My bad!

  15. no salvador dali !!!!! :O
    (even though he wasnt born here he should still be listed, no one can beat his moustache!)

  16. With all respect to Zappa, the man who took the “Best Rock ‘Stache” mantle from him is now Jesse Hughes from Eagles Of Death Metal.

  17. Just shaved my beard yesterday, leaving only a ‘stache. It was a scary move, but it turned out to look fine, and I’m getting an enthusiastic response.

    Sorry, but Tom Selleck is a must.

    And Gregory Peck has a goatee in that pic, as do Led Zep in their pic. I call BS on those inclusions.

    So many people wear a goatee or beard these days. Now it takes real balls to try a mustache, and lots of luck to end up looking good with one.

  18. I think the defining point of a good moustache is the time taken to achieve a well groomed look that suits the face, rather than looking like you just finished your glass of milk.

    That in mind, I feel Sam Elliot, him of the Big Lebowski, gives a lifelong master class in how to grow into your tache… I can’t decide if he rocks it better now or back when it was young.

    Being a Brit, I also expected Lemmy on here. Warts ‘n all.

  19. Dude! Great picture of Peck, he could cock one eyebrow like nobodies bussiness.Another cool article.

  20. I’m a full beard guy myself, but have been known to knock it back into a ‘stache or a goatee on occasion. I’m definitely with you on being sick of men trying to be prettier than their girlfriends – ‘course I’m not a guy who has a choice – the best angle I’ve got is going for “ruggedly handsome,” so maybe thats just sour grapes on my part. I did see a legitimate study at one point that suggested women on birth control are attracted to more feminine features.

    Oh, and Sam Elliot – seriously, that guy is the King of the Cowboy ‘Stache!

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