Arts and Culture

Winning Movember, week 4: On the sexuality of the mustache

It's nearly Thanksgiving, and since gratitude is for the weak, I'm thankful this year for one thing and one thing only: imminent victory. As we move into the fourth week of Movember, that great month during which brave men attempt to eradicate cancer by growing mustaches (thus raising awareness, which is fatal to cancer), my mustache has grown lustrous to the point that I now actually have to beat off the sexual advances of lust-crazed vixens with a stick -- and when I say a stick, I don't mean the persistent erection my mustache affords me, I mean a length of lead pipe with spikes welded onto it. Fidelity to my life partner is important to me.

In any case, the enormous degree of sexual responsibility I've had to undertake, in addition to last week's interview with the American Mustache Institute's Dr. Aaron Xavier Perlut on the sexually dynamic mustached American lifestyle, got me thinking about the mustache's potency as a sex symbol.

Of course, the mustache's sexual associations haven't always been positive. As recently as the early '90s, in fact, the name "mustache" was officially changed to "molestache" by decree of the United States Congress, until the American Mustache Liberties Association successfully litigated a change back some years later. Still, even to this day, certain repressed and threatened individuals continue to deride the lip follicles as being "pervy" and "gross." And there's plenty to be threatened by.

There's no denying that the mustache is a powerful sex object. For evidence, just look to some of the sexiest men in history: Charles Bronson, Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, Theodore Roosevelt (America's most virile president), for a short time Brad Pitt, until his mustache reached a critical mass of sexy and he was forced to shave it out of mercy. The question is, why is the mustache so puissant? If the beard is a potent statement of masculinity (and it is), then why is it even more masculine to keep part of it shaved?

Because less is more, the acclaimed architect Mies van der Rohe might have said -- but it's more than that. Its line-like shape, it could also be argued, suggests a phallic symbol -- but it's more than that, too. The truth is, scientists don't know for certain. It could be that the wearing of a mustache fundamentally alters the genetic makeup of the wearer, making that wearer frighteningly attractive to all sexes (e.g., Freddie Mercury). It's known that the longer and more elaborate the mustache gets, the more chemically boner-inducing hormones its follicles release into the bloodstream, but scientists don't know how or why.

But with great power, said Spider-Man's uncle, comes great responsibility, and the power of the mustache has indeed been used for both good and evil. It would be naive to pretend that some of the mustache's less-savory stereotypes don't have some foundation in truth, and everyone knows that one of the mustache's more pronounced effects is crushing naiveté. But to evaluate all mustachioed gentlemen upon the tragic weakness of the few would be folly, no more true than to say everyone who carries a gun is a paranoid evangelical redneck. What I'm trying to say is, mustaches are like guns.

Movember's almost over, but that doesn't mean shit. Certainly on behalf of myself and mustachioed gentlemen everywhere, I'd like to extend a thanks to Movember for adding yet another positive connotation to the mustache, raising it further out of those dark days of yore. But that's far from the only reason, as we've seen, to wear a mustache. For those of us that choose the path, it will not end. It's a way of life.

So join us, brethren. It's never to late to pick up a ton of chicks.

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte