And to mark the monthlong celebration of hirsute upper lips, we took a look back at some of the greatest and—depending on how you feel about soup-strainers—not so great mustaches of all time and asked this question:
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.
A man with courage and strong follicles can accomplish just about anything. So we’d like to take a moment to honor some of the greatest moments in grooming history. This time, the gentleman in question is Salvador Dalí.
Everyone knows the crazy mustaches of Dalí’s late period, but he was pretty sharp in his younger years, too—as anyone who’s seen Midnight in Paris can attest. This snap finds a young Salvador with two impeccably sculpted mustache-clefs on his upper lip.
It’s still surreal—but in a suave-surreal way instead of a bizarre-surreal way. The stache is all the more impressive since he must have managed the whole thing with a straight razor. He was a painter, after all.
We’ll assume the bedroom eyes were intended for the photographer.
It’s the sort of thing you’d usually see on a mixologist or an unusually well-groomed bike messenger, but damn if he doesn’t pull it off, thanks to an otherwise unassuming goatee and a generally unpretentious demeanor. (Pro tip: it looks a lot better over a t-shirt than a tweed suit.) Mostly, we’re happy to see this stache inching towards the mainstream. If you’ve got the courage (and the mustache wax), it might be worth a try.
Sad news from the world of sharkskin and pomade—the venerable Las Vegas entertainer and charmer Robert Goulet has succumbed to lung disease at the age of 73. A true vocal talent with a near-infinite supply of what his fellow Québécois call “charisme,” this smooth operator was loved by nearly everyone with an ear for music or a sense of humor.
Even with his slicked-back hair, brown turtlenecks, polyester everything, devil’s ‘stache and—uh—man jewelery, Goulet somehow seemed above it all—classy and confident no matter what (a lesson we could all learn.) Through his forty years of service as the self-effacing epitome of the velvet-lapelled cabaret singer, Goulet made the world his lounge.