I am happy the ‘Movember’ thing is nearly over. Not that I, as a male, don’t support the prostate cancer cause, it’s just that I don’t ‘do; mustaches.
And the truth is, most men do not look well with upper lip hirsuteness.And men who should have more sense than to grow one, do indeed grow them for the sake of that aforementioned cause. Thank God it’s only for a month.
Mustaches are like bowties (another of those cyclical fashion things) that should only bedeck the necks of certain males. Winston Churchill and Groucho Marx come to mind, along with Dagwood Bumstead. If Dagwood had worn a long tie it would have covered up that curiously huge single button in the middle of his shirt.
But, back to ‘stashes. They simply do not work for most. They can give an evil and sinister look to some men (it may be worthy of note that no US president since Teddy Roosevelt ever was elected if he happened to be mustache adorned. Thomas E. Dewey came closest and it was actually believed that the mustache sapped his credibility in Middle America.
I grew one once and even have some old photos somewhere showing me with sort of a blondish mess beneath my nose. It looked horrible and did not last long. I later opted for a full beard, which looked better – but not much.
But, for some, the mustache is an almost essential accoutrement. It ‘works’. It works to the degree that the normal mustache wearer looks naked and ineffectual without it.
Who are the great mustache-wearers of our culture?
Clark Gable: In his early films, like It Happened One Night, he was clean-shaven. Thus, he was an able enough actor, but not necessarily thrilling. But then the mustache came in the late 1930s, and nobody could conceive of Rhett Butler having the panty-wetting dash he did were he devoid of the mustache.
Tom Selleck: The poor-man’s Gable in many respects would never have been Magnum if he had been cleanly shorn. If seen him in the odd vehicle without one and it just doesn’t work.
Sam Elliott: Generally given to playing grizzled cowboys these days, the dude (pictured above) defines what a wonderful retro full mustache should be. How could you not trust a man who looked like that? Again, clean-shaven he is pretty much nothing, but in full bloom, it all works.
Groucho Marx: Good old Groucho, he gets to be mentioned twice in this blog, and he deserves to. In his early stage and film work he was minus mustache, but the image of having one worked so well for him that he painted it on. Later, in You Bet Your Life days, the mustache was for real. The Groucho leer would have never worked without it.
George Clooney: Sometimes he’s had one, sometimes he hasn’t. The bastard would look good in anything, alas. I hate males that even other males can recognize as being too good looking for his own good.
Burt Reynolds: In the days when he still had some credibility – and prior to some atrocious cosmetic surgery – Burt had a certain amount of dashing impact. Again he has been clean-shaven and mustached. Mustached always worked better.
Grandpa Walton: Of course. All good grandpas have trustworthy looking mustaches. Mine did.
By the way, I am not planning to grow one. It would still look dorky on me.