Since it's a well known scientific fact that the mustache is the best and most manly form of facial hair, let's start with a definition: A mustache consists of hair grown in some form above the mouth -- but not below it; i.e., if you have hair on your chin, you do not have a mustache. It's important to note this distinction, because, although esteemed organizations like the American Mustache Institute will acknowledge that facial hair is general is awesome, they also caution that some shaving is necessary for maximum awesomeness potential to be reached. So in honor of Saturday evening's Mustache Festival at the Vesta Dipping Grill, shave that chin (the goatee is the mullet of the new millennium) and follow in the footsteps of these heroic men.
Tom Selleck: In many ways, the mustache of Tom Selleck really provides the template of what a great mustache can be: Full, lustrous and expertly groomed, it's simple, yet elegant, and when we say "elegant," we mean "badass."
Charles Bronson: Let's just acknowledge up front that Charles Bronson's mustache isn't even that good -- it's wispy and kind of thin -- but also note that, having said that, we now plan to run far away and never return, because Charles Bronson will hunt us down and straight murder us. Few men in history have been manlier than Charles Bronson, and it speaks to the mustache's great legacy that, though he struggled with it, he saw fit to wear one -- and he just wouldn't be the same without it.
Burt Reynolds: Though mustaches are often associated with greatness -- and it's certain that The Bandit is a great man -- nobody ever did more to associate it with sexiness than Burt Reynolds, the most delectable tidbit of man-steak the world has ever seen, and one of the few men to ever defeat a bear in a bout of fisticuffs and then sexually dominate it.
Scott McInnis: Here, it's not so much the legacy of the man that counts as the legacy of the mustache. In his earlier career as a lawyer and U.S. congressman, Scott McInnis's mustache seemingly gave him the power, like Samson's hair legendarily gave him, to achieve anything -- and so it seemed like an omen when he shaved it off in advance of his gubernatorial run this fall. Indeed, the run was disastrous, proving that if you betray the mustache, the mustache will betray you.
William Howard Taft: There were several presidents in this great nation's illustrious history to rock mustaches, but the mustache of William Howard Taft was perhaps the greatest. And so it's no coincidence that Taft would turn out to be perhaps the greatest man, going on to become the only president in U.S. history to also serve as chief justice on the U.S. supreme court, which he did until the end of his life. Legacies don't get too much more distinguished than that.
Adolf Hitler: Though Hitler obviously used the power of his mustache for evil, there is no denying that he owned it. In the history of mustaches, there are only one other style of mustache so closely associated with its chief proponent to be named after him, and no other style so closely associated with its owner that people can't even wear it, simply on the basis of that association.
Salvador Dali: If you were wondering who that other guy was in the previous paragraph, it's Salvador Dali. Never one to eschew variety, Dali changed around the particulars of his mustache to suit his mood, but what remained consistent was the basic style: Thin, squiggly and waxed into tips that reached up like two hands reaching for the stars, just as Dali did, just as all mustachioed men must do.
Frida Kahlo: Another surrealist with a well known mustache, Kahlo is most known for her brutally honest self-portraits, in which she depicted herself wearing the glorious but stigmatizing facial hair that was her birthright. In the great but traditionally male-dominated history of the mustache, Kahlo took some of the first steps toward making the mustache the shining beacon of inclusivity it will one day, with hard work, become.
Rollie Fingers: Once upon a time, mustaches -- or any facial hair at all -- were rare in baseball, whose players instead generally favored a clean shave (a look that was also sometimes enforced by management). That all changed in the season of 1972, when Oakland As owner Charles O. Finley bucked tradition by offering a bonus to the player who could grow the best facial hair, a charge led by Rollie Fingers, who went all out with a classic waxed handlebar. He was a great pitcher, but these days, he's better known for making baseball the mustache safehaven it has been for some 40 years.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Jef Otte: Though lesser known than some of the mustaches on this list, the mustache of Jef Otte is, by some scientific estimates, the greatest mustache of all time. With a proven ability to lift as many as seventeen sharks, fly several types of helicopters and negotiate an end to wars with studied, even-handed diplomacy, this renaissance mustache is, truly, a mustache for all mankind.