Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wither the 'Stache? Good or Bad Pop Sociology

Hat tip to the bearded Jacob Levy to this piece on the decline of the mustache.

The mustache survived Hitler. It could not survive porn, disco, or Magnum P.I.
The article is interesting, but has so many wild assertions that it is hard to buy the premise--that American males are no longer man enough to rock a mustache.
This is, sadly, our loss. Without the mustache, we’ve lost a whole language of facial hair - the sleek pencil mustache, the villainous curl. An entire universe of mustaches is now relegated to contests and annual conventions. It may not be too late to reclaim this legacy, though. What the mustache needs isn’t another pretender. What the mustache needs - no, what the mustache demands - is a hero.
Every few years, I shave off my beard, mostly to shock and awe those who have never seen me beardless. And also to drop about ten to fifteen years in my appearance. In the process, I do toy with a mustache for a few minutes before the rest of the fuzz goes down the sink. I don't stick with the mustache for a couple of reasons: a) I go bearded because I hate to shave, so a mustache does not really address that problem--shaving would still take place; b) mustaches require more careful upkeep since it can be come asymmetrical; and c) yes, I think I look cheesy with a mustache.

It has little to do with disco or Tom Selleck and more to do with the way it looks on me. Of course, I am generalizing from my experience. But then again, it's my blog.


Jacob T. Levy said...

But I think the idea is: the fact that you think it looks cheesy is a cultural artefact.

Steve Saideman said...

This is where time traveling would be handy as I think my stache would look cheesy even in a time where mustaches were more widely worn.

And it looked cheesy in 1984, which was still a time where Tom Selleck was still hot and mustaches were not as widely associated with porn, I think.