In the last edition of the Collegian, a contributing writer argued for the masculinity of the beard. I would agree that the beard is manly, but the mustache far surpasses it. A barely post-pubescent boy can grow a scraggily beard, but it takes a man to acquire and maintain a mature, gentlemanly mustache.
Currently, the mustache is fighting an uphill battle in an attempt to correct negative stereotypes: mainly that they are only grown by creepy middle-aged men with nefarious intentions. This is preposterous.
Although this stereotype originated from some possible truth, I would urge others to remember that the man who grows a mustache has a myriad of reasons to do so, none of which have to be creepy.
In defiance of the stereotype, a man who grows a mustache demonstrates his self-assurance and confidence. He does not care about the possible negative perceptions: he already knows he is debonair and does not need public opinion to reinforce his self-image.
Though the mustache is rapidly becoming trendier, mainly due to strong support from hipsters, it has actually been donned by a plethora of the most suave and dignified men in history. Its popularity has been proven throughout the ages.
A prime example of a rough and tumble man with a mustache was Theodore Roosevelt, who had a bear growing on his upper lip. In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was on his way to deliver a campaign speech in Milwaukee when a disgruntled saloon keeper shot him in the chest. Instead of rushing to the hospital to receive medical attention, Roosevelt continued on to his destination and gave a riveting speech.
It would have taken more than one bullet to stop Teddy Roosevelt from achieving his goals; in fact, the bullet remained logged in his chest for the rest of his life. Roosevelt was the epitome of a self-assured and successful man, and his preference in facial hair was the mustache.
Not only does the mustache have a legacy of greatness, but it also affords men an outlet of personal style and creativity that the beard, with its stylistic limitations, cannot offer. The beard can only take a handful of sizes and shapes; it is for a man who likes few options in his life.
The mustache, dissimilarly, is for the brave man who wants to spice up his life with options. If he is attempting to exude a rugged and tough persona he can choose the horseshoe mustache. Yet, if he is trying to create more of a suppressive fascist look with his style he can quickly grow and groom a toothbrush mustache, made famous by Charlie Chaplin and Hitler.
Another important difference between mustaches and beards is the level of personal hygiene and grooming required. Beards are as low maintenance as they come, and that is not always a good thing. Some beards, when they have received inadequate grooming, turn into a birds nests under a man’s neck.
While a mustache, which is well cared for, demonstrates a man’s dedication to personal hygiene and one can never be too hygienic.
So in the future, when you encounter a man with simple or elaborate mustache, do not get hung up on the negative connotations it may bring, but instead remember it is a stylistic choice taken by the boldest and most masculine of men.
– Molly Halpin, Contributing Writer