Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Moustache Movement Update

Just an update on the Moustache Movement. I did some online research only to find out that I did not discover what was going on. I am relatively late in studying the scope and timeline of this phenomenon. I'm still quite fuzzy (no pun intended) on the foundations--maybe that is something that we won't be able to see for years to come, but I think that I have discovered the flash point. Brad Pitt grew a moustache in 2008, reputedly for his film Inglorious Bastards, but he wore it proudly off set, even out to Hollywood social events.

And let's face it, Brad Pitt is like the Queen of England. Not so much Elizabeth II, but Elizabeth I. If any of you have taken a college Shakespeare class you probably know that the Queen was the trend setter in terms of fashion. Men's and women's fashion changed in "Elizabethan England" depending on what the Queen wore. Who knows, maybe someday historians will call our time Pittian America. Okay, so that's going a little too far, but seriously, Brad Pitt is a force to be reckoned with.

Okay, so the moustache has had no credibility for over a decade, and during that time you risked looking like a pedophile to wear one. But put one on Brad Pitt, the man who consistently wins "Sexiest Man Alive" (and is a family man to boot)and some of that pedophile exoskeleton begins to be chipped away.
So what happened after that? That's right, George Clooney--bosom pal of Mr. Pitt and another Sexiest Man Alive emeritus grows one. When you have that kind of credibility behind a moustache people are going to start questioning those negative assumptions that they had. Since the Pitt-stache, Mel Gibson, Matt Damon, Orlando Bloom, and Jude Law have been caught with Moustaches. I predict that once the entire cast of Ocean's 11 (including Julia Roberts) has had one, moustaches will be fully embraced by American society.

There is still an element of humour behind this movement. I still maintain that no one is wearing one in the same spirit that they would wear Prada, though it certainly is a statement either way. Wearing a moustache is also a sign of supreme confidence. You have to be very secure in yourself, and your appeal, to disregard the usual connotations. But now people can say, even if it is only subconsciously,"Well, Brad Pitt had one; why not?"

I typed in "moustache comeback" into Google, and there is no end to people with pictures of themselves who are bravely "reclaiming the moustache." This grassroots movement smacks of freedom and is marked by bold self-expression. Again, I find myself being seduced by the message. I have been appalled in the past by the negative connotations that have unfairly been attached to lip-hair, and it is high time we stopped discriminating against and porn-profiling those who choose to have a push-broom on their face.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A day late and a dollar short: Movember

Okay, I know that November was so yesterday, but I have been wanting to post about Movember all month. Yeah, that's right--Moustache November baby.

During the second half of November I couldn't help noticing that mustaches were on the rise, growing, perhaps, to epidemic proportions. Could it be that mustaches are making a comeback? Something must be horribly wrong, I thought. I have been having flashbacks to the 70s, even though I never lived in that decade, and my fear of being mugged or molested has increased. Come on, mustaches have very few positive connotations these days. I must admit, though, in all honesty that I think it is very sad that they have come to be associated with pedophiles--I think that is pretty unfair. But I am a product of the aesthetics of my time in that I only know about 10 people who look good in a mustache. I should mention here that my father is one of those people, and he's one of the least creepy people on the planet. He just looks like a Tom Selleck throw-back from the seventies--harmless.

So, despite the fact that a well trimmed beard or goat-tee looks infinitely more respectable these days than a stash, my university's grooming standards only allow facial hair on the upper lip. Unless you are a woman, of course, in which case you could look like Karl Marx if you could grow it. Perhaps the University knew that only those men who didn't care about getting dates, and didn't mind frightening small children, would grow one. Perhaps this was the master plan to achieve bare faces across campus. Anyway, so when I started seeing all of these moustaches last month I thought it evidence of an organized, underground, cabal--bent on reclaiming at least a modicum of facial freedom. There is even a prominent work of art on campus, that appeared in early November, of a large metal-tubed moustache that is apparently filled with kerosene because at night it becomes a flaming stash. It's even in the style of the 19th century saloon keeper moustache--you know, it perks up at the ends, like an extra, hairy smile. Well, the work is entitled, "Self-Portrait" and I have seen the artist--who looks like he must be the leader of the underground movement.

Then I heard of no-shave November and figured that growing a stash is the only thing that BYU students can do, so no surprise there. Though it is definitely more prominent this year than ever. Well, then I stumbled upon Movember in the urban dictionary. People grow moustaches in November and then compare them at the end to see who grew the best one. What a fabulous fad--or is it only a fad? I am going to keep my eyes open today to see if they begin to disappear. I'm going to make a prediction, however, that Moustaches will make a brief comeback in the next few years.

First, they have to get past the ridiculousness that moustaches seem to invoke right now. Moustaches have to be brought back into fashion through a joke. There's no feeling on campus that people are growing moustaches because they seriously think that they look good. There's really something tongue and cheek about it, with a bit of a wink, wink in every moustache that I see. It's a bold, slightly subversive, expression of whimsy and I think I like it. I am tempted to be part of this group myself, but now I fear it is too late. If I grow one now I will be that guy who is still making April fools jokes on April 2nd. So, I'm going to keep watching faces to see if the lip hair trend continues. Time will tell whether this was just a Movember thing or if there really is an underground coterie that will accept me into its ranks.

P.S. Notice the two different accepted spellings of moustache/mustache--nifty.