Monday, June 30, 2008

Anti-Mustache Prejudice

Having worn a mustache since high school, and loving it, I never realized how much of an anti-mustache prejudice existed with younger people today, especially since I am in my 30s and can remember how cool Burt Reynolds was in the late 1970s. Well, I ran into this from a few of my students in the last year, reminding me of how out-of-step I am, and just how thoroughly men have been babified by our hairless metrosexual culture.

My first incident was, ironically enough, with another male student, who told me during my office hours, "I love the fact you wear your 'stache so big. No one my age would ever wear that!" When I asked him why, he replied, "Oh my God, no. We're not supposed to have mustaches. Even if you have facial hair, it would be better to wear a beard or goatee. Anything but a mustache!"

Then a female student, this last semester, decided to pay me a compliment of sorts by saying, "You're the only guy I know who wears a mustache, except my dad." Yes, these are the kinds of comments that educators really treasure.

Much of my inattentiveness is probably a product of my overall ignorance of society. I try to be observational, and I have noticed that mustaches have become verboten in politics (no Presidential candidate from the two major parties has sported one since Thomas Dewey, and you know how that one worked out). It probably does not help that when you look up the mustache on Wikipedia, the example that is used on the front page is Joseph Stalin (admittedly, he had a wonderful mustache). Or that Hitler had a mustache, even if it looked like the gardener took a weed whacker to it. It also does not help that the bad guys in movies oftentimes have facial hair, along with a smoking habit. Is it hard to see why the stereotype of the mustache is one associated with crime and mistrust?

The greatest contributor to the anti-mustache trend, though, is the opposite sex. As one can see from this lady, facial hair is a major faux pas, reminding her of '70s porn and dad. This is hardly a scientific study, but as mentioned in Ms. Cortes' column I can deduce that many members of the opposite sex may consider mustaches to be painful, but this depends on what the mustache is incidentally touching. At the end of the day, a properly maintained mustache cannot be as painful as being scratched up by a Billy Mays-lookalike.

In addition, I wonder, why would a woman be more attracted to a young man trying to look like a waxed-up elementary school student? Are mustaches really that unattractive? I mean, there are not too many women who can wear one, so it seems like it is a nice way to differentiate yourself from the opposite sex. I always assumed that men and women were attracted to what made us different, instead of trying to make ourselves look alike (or more specifically with men trying to busily make ourselves look like underage boys).

Contrary to the belief of many millennials, there are advantages to having a mustache.

1. It looks mature. There is something to be said for wanting to look like an adult sometimes, particularly for those 20 year olds scoping for some alcohol.

2. Yes, food storage can be a good thing. It is kind of nice to be able to store parts of your dinner away for future consumption.

3. Works for beverage storage, too. This does not last as long as the food storage, but it can give you some enjoyment, particularly when it is a port wine.

4. Not all women hate mustaches. Well, maybe most of them do, but some women actually appreciate a little facial hair when being given proper tribute.

5. Not all criminals and mass murderers wear them. Ted Bundy was clean cut. So was Jeffrey Dahmer, usually.

6. It is true that Stalin had a mustache. Hey, so did Molotov.

7. Upon a cursory investigation, it appears as though men in porn do not wear mustaches anymore (I could be wrong about this, but there are only so many viagra-pumped male porn stars that I want to look up on google image). If the rationale of making ourselves look different from male porn stars holds any legitimacy, why not wear a 'stache?

8. Yes, we are lazy. It is just one less part of our faces that we have to shave, and do it without looking like one of the band members of ZZ Top or denizens at GITMO.

9. Having a mustache gives you something to bite and chew on for entertainment during long car and bus rides.

10. Wearing a mustache while it is still un-cool will make you cool in the eyes of the anti-establishment people, instantly turning you into a celebrity. Of course, if and when the mustache ever comes back, you will have to shave it to maintain street cred.

So, see, we are not a threat to you after all. So long as you are not a kulak, that is.

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