Today, I have a very, very important question for the group: What are your thoughts on mustaches? I’ve always loved beards (clearly), but over the last few years, I’ve been spotting more and more guys with simple mustaches around town. Honestly — and this surprised me — they look good.
This recent exchange on the podcast Headliners made me laugh:
Host Nihal Arthanayake: “[Comedian] Rob Delaney has walked in here just sporting the finest Magnum P.I. Tom Selleck vibes that I’ve seen in some time. This is a beautiful mustache, Mr. Delaney.”
Rob Delaney: “Thank you, thank you very much. I like to have a mustache. My mustache is not ironic. It is genuine. I don’t know why we went through quite a period where they were, like, funny. You know? A man can have a mustache!”
And he’s right, don’t you think? For the past couple decades in the U.S., many mustaches have felt like a goof. A bit. A take-one-for-the-team fundraising effort for “Movember.”
Wesley Morris wrote a beautiful NYTimes piece (gift link) about growing one during quarantine:
“Like a lot of men, in pursuit of novelty and amusement during these months of isolation, I grew a mustache. The reviews were predictably mixed and predictably predictable. ‘Porny’? Yes. ‘Creepy’? Obviously. ’70s’? True (the 18- and 1970s). On some video calls, I heard ‘rugged’ and ‘extra gay.’ Someone I love called me ‘zaddy.’ Children were harsh.”
But he realized the style connected him to a legacy:
“On Black men, a mustache told a different story. It was fashionable, but it was more than that. On a Black man, it signified values: perseverance, seriousness, rigor. Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Albert Murray, John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Bayard Rustin, Joseph Lowery, Fred Shuttlesworth, Julius L. Chambers, Jesse Jackson, Hosea Williams, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Elijah Cummings: mustaches all… This is why I’ve kept mine. It’s me squeezing my way into a parallel heritage. In this small sense, the work I do caring for it feels connected to a legacy of people who did and do the work chipping at and thinking with this nation. The good work.”
Thoughts? Where do you stand on mustaches? Love? Hate? Shrug?