Winning Movember, week 3: The American Mustache Institute weighs in

After last week's slow start, I'm pleased to report that, as we enter the second half of Movember, my mustache is downright glorious -- by the Westword team of crack scientists' last estimate, it now effects the death of tens of thousands of cancerous cells hourly. But while the mustache-fueled race to raise cancer-awareness continues (and I continue winning it), the month has other awareness-related implications; specifically, it raises awareness of the American Mustached Heritage, a sect of the population in which the American Mustache Institute, the nation's most venerable mustache advocacy group, has a direct stake. The AMI and Movember have worked hand-in-hand since the latter came to the U.S. four years ago, so to better understand the role of Movember in the fight for mustache rights, we caught up with the AMI's Dr. Aaron Xavier Perlut, the world's leading authority on the sexually dynamic mustached American lifestyle.

Westword: The idea of Movember, of course, is to encourage men who don't normally wear mustaches to wear one for a month, and I wonder what's the institute's stance on that kind of short-term mustache commitment? That some mustache growth is better than none, or would you like to see a more long-term lifestyle change?

Dr. Aaron Xavier Perlut: I think both. When Movember came to us four years ago to seek permission to enter U.S. Soil -- by U.S. statute, all mustache-related activities must seek the blessing of the institute -- we knew right away it was a worthy cause. Whether it's a short-term thing or even if it's just poking fun at the sexually dynamic mustached American lifestyle, it's keeping the mustache in the popular conversation, and that's what matters. The other thing is, the American Mustache Institute is a non-profit organization, and we're always seeking charitable partners to help us further our goals. For the last four years, Movember has been that partner.

Certainly the idea of men growing mustaches even for a short time seems an indicator of what you guys must see as a positive trend. Since its heyday in the 1970s, the mustache endured probably the blackest period of stigmatization and discrimination in its history, but in the last half-decade or so, the popularity of the mustache has seen an upswing.

It's been a very interesting evolution since the '70s, because if you go back that far and take a look at what was going on then, you see that back then all men had three things: A perm, a turtleneck and a mustache -- we call that the triple threat. In the early 1980s, roughly 1981, we really started to see the mustached American turn into a dying species, something that was going extinct, much like the Chinese panda or a fully functioning dwarf. We played a very active role in fighting the discrimination that has faced our people during those years. But yeah, due to a number of reasons, we've seen a resurgence, a lot of it having to do with charitable organizations like Movember teaching people the science of mustaches, like the fact that a mustache improves good looks by 38 percent. And it has to do with today's young people, many of whom now see facial hair as a mode of self-expression, so it's been very rewarding.

Even so, Cosmopolitan recently called the mustache a "fugly guy trend."

Well, opinions are like assholes -- everyone's got one and they all stink. You know, to really comprehend the nature of the sexually dynamic American mustached lifestyle you must live it and feel it, and clearly whoever wrote that piece of garbage has never felt what it is like to be a person of American mustached descent. But it is true that the mustache is kind of a trendy thing right now. Do you ever look at Johnny-come-latelies to the mustache fold and think, "We were here all along?"

You know, a lot of people ask me, "Do you feel like hipsters have highjacked the mustache?" which I think is a lot a long the lines of the question you're asking. My feeling is, if you look, most mustached Americans are of long standing in the mustache community. Certain churches in Alabama and Mississippi will try to tell you that the sexually dynamic American mustached lifestyle is a choice, and it's not, it's an inborn trait. So we welcome any new members of the mustache community, anyone who wants to come along, and maybe we can teach that person something new, like the fact that a mustache can allow your orgasm to last up to 27 minutes -- that's a scientific fact. So no, when we see a hipster wearing a mustache with skinny jeans and a summer scarf, we're very pleased.

In a similar vein, as Movember comes to a close, thousands of participants will inevitably shave off their new mustaches and reenter civilian life. Is that ever a heartbreaking thing for you, that so many mustaches will be so needlessly destroyed?

Our greatest concern, obviously, is the biblical implications -- it's written very clearly in the Dead Sea Scrolls that, each time a mustache is shaved, and angel dies and falls to earth; there are references to that in Leviticus and the Book of Mormon as well, so this is a spiritual concern that transcends religious groups: Shaving one's mustache can kill angels -- plus, the shaving of mustaches increases ugliness, so it's very saddening and disheartening. But our hope is that, each year, a greater percentage will continue to live the mustached American lifestyle, even after the month is over.

That's interesting, because Movember of course begins with a shave-off, where participants start the month with a clean slate, so to speak. What's the AMI's policy on that? If you already have a mustache, should you just keep it?

We actually participate in Movember -- the staff and administration of the AMI does participate. We are a charitable organization, so if we have to make the sacrifice of killing angels to raise funds for prostate cancer and research, we're willing to do it. We are full participants in it.

So you yourself shaved on Movember 1?

I did, but I have a unique condition that allows me to regrow the mustache in four to six days by drinking vast quantities of scotch, so I'm pretty much back to full strength.

Learn more about mustache-related activities in Denver and elsewhere on the American Mustache Institute's Facebook page. And if you just want to drink in the luxury of a fine mustache, look no further: Feast your eyes on my week 3 growth below.

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