A pop-eyed fashion fop approached me a few days ago and pronounced that mustaches were out of style.
Harrrruuummmmph. And, I might add, balderdash. Mustaches are not now, nor have they ever been, out of style.
Teddy Roosevelt had a mustache. So did Sonny Bono. And Wyatt Earp. Has Wyatt Earp ever been out of style? Not likely, amigos.
I know what a few of you bare-lipped sissies are going to say: “Hey, Hitler had a mustache, too.”
Sorry, guys. Experts will tell you that Hitler did not have a mustache. The scant covering of his upper lip was comprised of nothing more than a few runaway nostril hairs that the shaky little maniac was never able to completely remove with his inadequate wartime razor.
I grew my first, and only, mustache in 1970. It was a time of fire and rain, of protest and political upheaval, heroic quantities of Red Mountain Wine and unidentifiable herbs from Bolinas. It was also a time of AMC Gremlins (that was a car, children) and of Richard Nixon, who somehow insinuated his way into the American presidency and left in disgrace four years later.
I should point out that neither Nixon, nor his sidekick, vice president Spiro Agnew, had mustaches.Take my word for it, if Nixon had had a mustache, American history would have been much, much different.
Since I first grew my mustache, I’ve been shot at, run over by a golf cart, had a burning railroad station collapse around me and been threatened by a knife-wielding methamphetamine consumer who mistook me for a Fresno truckdriver.
It should be noted that, through all of this, I’m still quite alive.
Coincidence? I don’t think so. Mustaches are both a built-in good luck charm and a distinctly male accoutrement that says “Don’t mess with me…”
Admittedly, Gen. George Custer had a mustache on the day that he and his entire cavalry contingent were wiped out during the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. All I can say in light of this quirky happenstance is imagine how much worse things might have been had Custer not been wearing his mustache that day.
I shudder to think…
In these troubled times, it’s become pretty obvious that what this country needs is a few more good mustaches. Nationwide, law-abiding citizens are crying out against rising crime. Robbery, drug dealing, assaults and illicit interstate transportation of used kitchen grease have become interwoven with the fabric of our daily lives.
Fewer and fewer cops are wearing mustaches.
There was a time when no self-respecting lawman would take to the streets without a well-groomed mustache and those fur-lipped symbols of yesteryear took a big bite out of crime.
Today’s hairless wonders simply don’t inspire the respect as their mustached counterparts of 20 years ago.
Put the mustaches back on the beat, amigos, and America’s streets will once again be safe for each and every one of us.
Mustaches out of style? Don’t bet on it.
Originally published July 4, 2004