Find Out Why She Was Taught To Hate It.
-Written by Evan Hackler
Ladies and Gentlemen:
What if I told you that our country has an issue, an issue with a basic bodily function that all men have the capacity for, an issue rooted in myth that stymies biology, an issue regarding a trait once swooned over by the masses, only to now be submerged in misunderstanding and stigma. Tune in this upcoming fall to help a fallen friend, the mustache.
May I congratulate you on making it to yet another Friday. As “plans” are made in rapid succession by millions of office workers thumbing away in group chats, almost certainly alongside blatant procrastination, I am here to not only aid you in your journey to shirk your responsibilities, but to also invite you to reflect on a topic that is seldom discussed in depth.
I will preface this organized rant by saying there are cool people in the world who are down with the stache, and to you, I raise my glass.
The moustache, mustache, lip sweater, face lace, or however you decide to dub the growing of said facial hair, has a long tradition in the United States – a story, like most, that has its peaks and valleys. Currently, or so it seems, we are attempting to reach the summit once again, only to be repeatedly pelted with rocks by those who supposedly occupy the “moral high ground”.
Why has something once thought of as a mainstay in American culture and society been butchered and hacked to the point where a majority of men only feel comfortable to make the figurative climb in the month of November? For most of you, the “Movember” campaign is a familiar talking point. It is a great cause that aims to raise money to fund research into prominent causes of death in young men.
Despite the great success the movement is having, not only in the research, but in fostering a mindset that spurs the confidence needed to express one’s freedom and creativity, there lies an inherent problem. We should not need a reason to grow a mustache and better yet, not feel like we ought to have an excuse when prompted by those in our inner and even outer circles.
Typical exchange between a young man and supposed guardian of the moral high ground:
Jane Doe: Hi Tim! [from a distance down the hallway]
Tim: Hey Jane, how are you? [the two are getting closer]
Jane: [Just about arms distance away] Oh, I’m doing well, we have a girls’ night out in……… [screeching halt in speech by Jane, eyes drop in a free-falling manner, staring at Tim’s newly manicured mane]
Tim: Yes, Jane? You were saying? [Tim, due to his fortunate ability to have the use of his eyes, notices what’s “going on”]
Jane: Oh, nothing. [The excitement in her voice is ripped away] Is that a mus….Are you growing a mustache?!
Tim: [Amidst increasing social tension] Uh, yeah… It’s Movember, I am growing one for Movember… ya know, where men grow mustaches to raise awareness for prostate cancer.
Jane: Oh…well good for you..I guess. I must say I am not a fan, [Unsolicited rant enters stage center] I liked you much better clean-shaven…. I don’t know why you guys are so into the mustache…I mean, none of my friends like it…maybe it’s the whole 80’s porn star/child molester vibe…anyway…good seeing you [blatantly still staring at the mustache]
Tim: [Speechless, uncomfortable, insert negative feeling here_____, resisting the urge to counter he manages to oblige with a pleasantry] You too, Jane.
Now this is a dramatic reenactment of sorts, but if you have grown a mustache, during November, you have heard these key words, “Porn, 80’s porn, child molester, why, my grand father had one, creepy, liked you better.” First off, Jane was told why he was growing one – albeit Tim did not have to provide such intel, only doing so because of their previous, now defunct, amicable relationship. Jane, unsolicited, offers rather tame yet judgement infused words in the form of: her disproval, what would be preferable and the opinions of her entire female friend group. Let’s be transparent in revisiting this and ask why these stigmas are proliferated:
PSA: “You” is a general, all encompassing, “you,” that refers to those who revel in labeling.
1. How much 80’s porn did Jane (born in early 90s) watch? / How much 80s porn do young women watch?
None – No female 20 something year old watches 70s and 80s porn on a regular basis for multiple reasons:
o It is not viewable on “Super” or “High” settings akaNOT HD
o There is not that much online [Yes, as men, we’ve noticed.]
o Viagra was not invented, no eXtenZe energy drinks [Guy can’t endure a full hour of boinking non-stop, although popularly thought of aphrodisiacs were tried – i.e. chocolate fondue fountains, etc. etc.]
o Fear of Chia-Pet-esque Bush
2. What is it about a mustache that makes someone creepy?
o Maybe you happen to have known creepy dudes, who happened to also have mustaches. I’ll tell you this much, the mustache doesn’t account for how that person was raised, their life experiences and education.
3. This is the best. Yes. The Child Molester. How does a mustache, once connoting manhood, masculinity, duty and service for literally over 100 years, come to be associated with molesting children?
o The question is one no one really knows the answer to. In the Juvenile Justice Journal, Volume V, Number 1, May 1998, children, when asked who a stranger was, amongst other descriptions, mentioned a male with a mustache and glasses. I posit this can also be applied to what constitutes a disguise.
o Also cited, was that of known cases in Massachusetts at the time, 80% of confirmed molestations were with individuals the children knew beforehand.
o Somehow, through the mode of our great engine of news, media, and other forms of communication, a behemoth of a misconception was strewn together via (you guessed it) random association of bundles of characteristics that people with mustaches were to be avoided and considered possibly dangerous when children were present.
I imagine this is what happened. Mustaches were at some point associated with people who were “dirty,” “mysterious,” or “in disguise.” This notion was reprinted a myriad of times. These characteristics were attached to the mustache, therefore creating a negative social stigma with respect to young to middle-aged men without children who sported them. [A lot of dads have mustaches and luckily, pun intended, were grandfathered in to being accepted by mainstream society, because once you have a child your street cred stock skyrockets like the housing market bubble.] In the great innately human ability to project issues close to home outward, an image of an offender, an undesirable, was created largely out of ignorance in order to tangentialize a problem, families, tragically, had to deal with.
I challenge everyone to think about why it is they have certain beliefs.