Why I have a mustache

A poll was taken in 1859, and nothing has changed.

It’s true. I too wear one to avoid being taken for an Englishman.


  1. says

    Mine hides the scar from where I ate the edge of a guy’s shield, in 1983 and where I eskimo rolled a kayak with my face in line with a rock in 1985. The shape of the mustache is specifically “cover this scar and that” but it has since become mistaken for fashion.

  2. says

    I too wear one because it is artistic. Although usually just to avoid not being taken for Jamie Hyneman, Theodore Roosevelt, or Dr. Eggman.

  3. says

    I do this thing because…
    “I’m super lazy”
    “I want everyone to know I was in the Army”
    “Because [I imagine] the ladies like it”

  4. blf says

    I wear one to help mop up the last of the beer (the beard gets most of it). It — well, the beard, mostly — also makes me look like I’m swallowing a hedgehog sideways. The mustache is also useful when straining for prawns and other sorts of filter-feeding, and from at least some angles (perhaps with the help of additional beer), means people can’t tell if they are looking at my face, in profile, or back. This means fewer cameras and eyeglasses implode.

  5. Rich Woods says

    I am both an Englishman and a lazy shaver. Plus I want somewhere to store the Guinness which keeps me happy on the walk from pub to home.

  6. gijoel says

    My mustache brings all the girls to the yard
    And they’re like it’s better than yours
    Damn right its better than yours,
    I can teach you,
    But I have to charge

  7. brucej says

    The moustache is to keep me from looking like I’m 12. (an excuse much more viable 40 years ago than today, alas) The BEARD is because I’m too lazy to shave :-)

  8. cartomancer says

    Well of course you won’t be taken for an Englishman if you wear one without the “o”. (Which is, as we all know, an essential, necessary and non-optional letter in the spelling of the word, which you Americans leave out purely from of a misguided sense of devilment).

    I’m not sure I’d be able to avoid being taken for an Englishman even with the aid of thirty moustaches. I don’t drink tea, I hate football, I despise royal pageantry and I have never once watched an episode of Bake Off, but somehow my ridiculous faux-RP tones and complete lack of style or edginess betrays me every time.

  9. dontlikeusernames says

    Hang on, hang on… are we saying that it’s acceptable to claim “mustache” when you have a full beard? That’s pretty ridiculous and self-serving. Surely, the whole point of articulating the idea of a mustache is that you don’t have any other facial hair? Otherwise: How can I have lived for this long without realizing that Mustache and Beard are not mutually exclusive categories?

    (Not that I’ll ever have practical experience with anything other than ‘stubble’. Not because I *can’t*, just because I *won’t*. The itchiness invariably gets to me before it becomes “comfortable”, as I’ve heard beard-havers describe it.)

  10. jrkrideau says

    @12 cartomancer
    but somehow my ridiculous faux-RP tones
    Ah, totally betrayed by accent. I remember asking a fellow cyclist some directions when trying to find the start of the Bath–Bristol cycling path. He, immediately responded by asking where I was from in Canada and did I know the Anzac club in Toronto. I did.

  11. handsomemrtoad says

    From PG Wodehouse’s short story “Buried Treasure”:

    The situation in Germany had come up for discussion in the bar parlour of the Angler’s Rest, and it was generally agreed that Hitler was standing at the crossroads and would soon be compelled to do something definite. His present policy, said a Whisky and Splash, was mere shilly-shallying. “He’ll have to let it grow or shave it off,” said the Whisky and Splash. “He can’t go on sitting on the fence like this. Either a man has a moustache, or he has not. There can be no middle course.”

  12. says

    #13: But if one has a beard, what does one call the stuff on the upper lip? It ceases to be a mustache because of the presence of hair elsewhere? Madness.

  13. NYC atheist says

    Are we all going to ignore the ‘I have weak lungs’ answer? Like, how does a mustache help that?

  14. cartomancer says

    PZ, #16

    An island ceases to be an island because of the presence of land elsewhere – i.e. land attaching it to a larger landmass. Similarly a puddle ceases to be a puddle when there’s water attaching it to the sea and a copse ceases to be a copse when it’s part of a larger forest.

    We might argue that a hand doesn’t cease to be a hand when it’s attached to the rest of a body, and a wheel doesn’t cease to be a wheel when it’s attached to a vehicle. But these are discrete functional systems, differentiated by function rather than solely by location. Since one region of facial hair does not have an integral function distinct from that of the rest, I think it ought to follow the paradigm we use for geographical features in the first paragraph’s examples.

    How about calling it the supra-labial part of the beard?

  15. latveriandiplomat says

    @17. Air filtration? What’s the HEPA rating on a decent ‘stache? :)

  16. JohnnieCanuck says

    Asking for a friend; would body lice set up shop in a beard? I’ve never heard tell of it.

  17. ebotebo says

    Because up till two years ago, I didn’t think I could grow one. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! (Plus, at 63 yrs. old, I want to)

  18. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Dusts my cookies. Right?
    Seriously. I too am confused. My “mustache” is simply one component of my full beard. Which I wear as refusal to scrub my face with that razor blade.

  19. blf says

    cartomancer@16, An island ceases to be an island when it runs aground and is nailed to the location; A hand ceases to be a hand when it’s cut off and runs away (it’s now Thing); and as the mildly deranged penguin points outs, a Wheel of cheese makes a poor vehicle wheel, tending to eat the passengers and road (you wondered what really caused ruts…).

  20. anchor says

    I ‘wear’ one because hair happens to grow above my upper lip.

    No other reasons. That is all.

  21. says

    Okay, let me see if I’ve got this straight…

    Facial hair on just the upper lip: mustache.
    Facial hair on the upper lip and chin/cheeks: beard (the upper lip hair ceases being a mustache).
    Facial hair on just the chin/cheeks, not on upper lip: also beard.

    It’s very confusing.

  22. rustiguzzi says

    “Facial hair on just the chin/cheeks, not on upper lip: also beard.
    I’ts very confusing.”

    Not at all. That would be a “fringe beard”, thought to have become extinct in England in the early 20th century, but has since made a comeback.

  23. taraskan says

    Well, one of these reasons has changed. The English actually started mandating mustaches in the army soon after this was written, a practice that continued into the first world war. You could be court martialed for shaving it off between 1860-1916.

  24. pacal says

    I’ve had a moustache since I was c. 17 years old, mainly because I don’t like shaving. I was unable to grow a beard until I was 40 and every attempt up to then looked terrible so I was forced to mutilate by face by shaving. But since the stache looked fine I didn’t shave my upper lip.