Fu Manchu x Biker

We thought we’d take this opportunity to clarify a subtle yet crucial distinction between two commonly confused types of facial hair: the Fu Manchu and the Biker Mustache.

Very few people actually pull off an authentic Fu Manchu, first seen on screen in The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu (1923) and then on every Chinese villain ever since. The hair is grown only from the upper lip and hangs down either side of the mouth—but the sides remain clean-shaven.

The American version of the Fu Manchu has come to be known as “The Biker Mustache” or “The Horseshoe” because of its shape and popularity with modern cowboys. It consists of a full mustache with vertical extensions down to the jawline.

The guy currently leading the NFL in sacks has a biker mustache. As did this guy, and the guy who hangs out at your local rest stop.

We’re guessing you don’t actually know anyone who has a Fu Manchu.

—C.B.S.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom