Another day, another conversation with "Smack." This one really doesn't need any introducion or explanation.
As always, feel free to weigh in by posting a comment. Enjoy.
Within Reason: So, as I was shaving my beard on Tuesday, I was tempted to leave the moustache. I just couldn't do it. I feel like the moustache is not a viable facial hair option for some one my age. So, 3 questions:
Is there an age limit/requirement for moustaches? If so, what is it? Are there exceptions?
Smack: For the purpose of this conversation, I’ll be addressing moustaches sans any accompanying facial hair. A moustache by it’s lonesome is not so much governed by age restrictions as it is by societal stigma. In the public eye, a solo moustache is (with few exceptions) a sure sign of either father hood or pedophilia. It’s viability as a facial hair option hinges on your willingness to passers-by let which of these two roles you fit.
WR: Do you think that has always been the case, though? Which of those two roles did Magnum PI or Michael Jordan fit?
S: Upon further reflection I’m tempted to add a third category for men who have demonstrated such an unwavering degree of manhood that they can carry their iconic mustaches across generational gaps into today’s world. I would include in this category Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds, Wade Boggs, Ron Jeremy, Dale Earnhardt, Sam Elliott, Hulk Hogan, and of course Chuck Norris.
What is the Magnum PI of 2009? 24? Jack Bauer does not have a mustache.
Since you brought up Jordan we also have to discuss Larry Bird. I can’t include him in this new third category with that blond wispy mustache. He should have had to register as a sex offender for having it.
WR: Hmmm. I think this is more about the time frame than it is about the individual moustache wearers. For instance, it wasn't just Wade Boggs who wore a moustache in 1986, it was probably 75% of the Red Sox roster. Don Mattingly, the other premier hitter of that era? Moustache. Nowadays, if Eric Byrnes grows a moustache, it's pointed out on The Best Damn Sports Show, or Jim Rome brings it up.
What I don't understand is, why has the goatee been able to escape the "eeew" factor? Kevin Youkilis has a nasty goat, but it's only when he goes 'handlebars only' that people speak up about it.
S: It is absolutely a thing of the times. In the 80’s and early 90’s mustaches were in, but now they’re not. My point was that there are certain wearers that are able to carry it over to today and still make it work. But when Jason Giambi comes out of nowhere with a huge ‘stache it’s on SportsCenter.
There’s no real answer for why the goatee escapes criticism. It’s a style thing. How, in 1992, did Hammer pants seem like a great idea? They just did.
WR: Yes, but is clothing different? We expect these sorts of fluctuations in taste with clothing, I just find it odd that facial hair is not immune. Even hairstyles, which can be dated, do not receive the same scrutiny as the 'stache. Well, maybe the mullet - but most mullet wearers probably have handlebar moustaches, too - so who knows what the true root of the criticism is.
Here's the other thing about goatees - they are the least manly facial hair. Not simply because they were popular in the 1990s, when being "Mr. Sensitive" was cool, but for the fact that they take the most manicuring. All of these manly - men with goatees are actually metrosexuals, based on the amount of time they spend grooming. Also, I heard a radio caller make the following point a while back, and it has stuck with me ever since: a goatee makes your mouth look like a vagina. Sorry to be crude, but it is true.
S: When you say that a man’s mouth makes you think vagina… you’ve left me nowhere to go with this.
WR: You're right, uncalled for, but true. Let's get back to the important issue here: Is there a line graph that can illustrate this phenomenon? As in, as time has gone by, it has become increasingly less acceptable for young men to grow and wear moustaches.
Why did this happen? What made women of a certain age of time period wake up one day, look at a moustache and think "eeew"? Because, if you think about it, women did not used to just find these acceptable, they were considered desirable.