The History & Evolution of the Mustache

On January 21, 2008, by AMI Staff

*On Jan. 21, 2008, the following manifesto was submitted to the American Mustache Institute by Sir Patrick Burke of New Jersey, an AMI member in good standing. A copy of it can be downloaded here.

“A mustache is a terrible thing to shave.” Truer words have never been spoken. If you are of the male persuasion, no matter how tall you are, your musical preference, your painting ability, or how fast you can rock climb, you are going to grow a mustache. Now, whether you have the indignation and desire to grow one is a different ball game. Every man at some capacity has the potential to accompany his lip with a furry friend, and choosing not to could be a crucial mistake.

In the year of 1800 B.C., Pharaoh Teqikencola of Egypt — a woman — committed the unthinkable. An offense so heinous it would tingle the hair right off your mustache. She felt it admissible to completely ban the possession and maintenance of all mustaches. Anyone under her harsh rule would have to submissively part ways with their bewhiskered brotherin. And so history so eloquently played itself out in the decline and fall of the Egyptian empire in a short amount of time afterwards. This is far from scarce in terms of history. The proposed elimination and eradication of mustaches throughout history has lead to an ultimate mission failure just about 100 percent of the time.

Take the great Roman Empire for example. Most of us know of how great the Roman Empire was during its pinnacle. The time known as “Pax Romana,” or Roman peace, was noted for its lifestyle of grandeur, and as a utopia of hedonism. Many would argue that economic decay, political issues, and religion were the reasons for its epic downfall, but any amateur mustache enthusiast or historian could tell you the real reason—the tyrannical notion of the non-mustache. The banning of mustache
possession is a proven mistake. The only logical assumption one could make to the cold-hearted philosophy of anti-mustache is that mediocre leaders try to enforce a sense of non-stachery to make themselves stand out more. All in all, it’s a feeble attempt to get their names glorified in the history books.

Truly great societies, like the ancient Chinese flourished and basked in mustachial glory for centuries. As Confucius once said “A man without a mustache is a man without a soul.” It took far longer for the great Chinese empires to collapse, and that can only be contributed to their unbridled admiration for the cookie duster.

Throughout the years, the evolution and styling of the flavor savor has taken crucial steps in both the right and appallingly wrong directions. Though it isn’t completely proven, scholars maintain that Scythian horsemen were the first people to don the ‘stache Crude drawings show that the Scythians sported the petit handlebar style. A petit handlebar is a mustache “characterized by the fact that it is bushy and must be worn long enough to curl the ends upward, which is usually achieved with styling wax.”

Though this is still a noble, diplomatic style, modern mustacheers elect to go with more intricate, illuminating styles. Mustache wearers of this modern era use their nose neighbors as a portal into their character and personality. Every style of ‘stache conveys a different message. For instance, the horseshoe style emits a message of “get the hell out of my way before I step on your forehead.” The walrus mustache says in so many words—I’m comfortable with the fact that my furry friend makes me look like a walrus, as long as it serves effectively as a convectional oven and safe-box.

When considering to let your ‘stache shrubbery evolve into a grandiose garden of gestational manlihood, observe and study all the intricacies of cotemporary ‘stache styles, and conclude which style best fits your personality. “For a first timer, you must go with your own sense of self – what makes sense for you, your face, and your sense of purpose.” When all facts are considered, not growing a mustache is as silly as consuming unrefined dynamite. Actually, it’s sillier, because consuming unrefined dynamite, while undeniably fatal, will get you some pretty big thumbs up and mustache taps from your friends. Not growing a mustache makes it physically impossible to execute a mustache tap, and you’ll get Roger Ebert sized thumbs down from your peers.

“Modern times are probably the apex for mustaches. All styles and lengths are embraced. It is a time of mustache freedom. But we need to beware. To be vigilant. To defend the mustache to the death.”

This is one of the many mottos that mustache purists use to inspire anti-mustachists to change their hairless ways. While a complete reform and revolution of the mustache may be too much to ask, it is time for men to chip in and help make this world a utopia for mustache growers.

Men and the occasional woman alike need to wear their ‘stache with pride, and not feel like a hairy, walrus-esque pariah to society. If there is anything more dignifying than a spontaneous upper-lip growth of hair, I don’t know what it is. And to claim it is anything else except the ‘stache is downright erroneous.

 
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