Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 | 12:52 p.m.
The word mustache looks and sounds as if it has French roots, and indeed it does. To get to the French spelling, as always, just insert an extra vowel someplace within the word, and, "voilà."
This facial accessory says as much by saying nothing as Marcel Marceau himself. It’s a popular finishing touch to many costumes, pop culture jabs and self-defacing laughs for men, as well as a few women.
Unless you are Burt Reynolds.
The specific Wikipedia definition of mustache (“…facial hair grown on the outer surface of the upper lip”) raises more questions than it answers. Technically, do follicles grow on the actual lip? Do whiskers grown on the inner surface of the upper lip have a different name? How does one shave that?
It’s a hairy situation.
The WMPC (World Mustache Properties Counsel) — an international member-driven governing body that I just made up — has strict rules, evidently, as to what a mustache can and cannot be. For example, it may not be accompanied by a beard of any kind. Then, I assume, it becomes something else.
My stylishly hip friend Dane Butcher loves to pretend to approach men sporting a ‘stache to say, “Excuse me, sir, I mustache you a question.” I laugh every time, particularly because his line is delivered in his native Australian accent, which verifies that a poorly executed mustache can have international comic meaning.
The mustache has several styles beneath its umbrella, which seems to be a rationalization borne from any individual’s limitations in growing a significant, proper mustache.
Behold the Fu Manchu.
Mr. Butcher may hold an author’s license for his homophonic pun. The Movember movement began in Australia in 1999 to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other men’s health issues. This month, Las Vegas Wranglers players are participating in the Movember. And thus, this weekend at the Orleans Arena, you will find an array of mustaches that span Lieutenant Dangle to Inspector Clouseau.
A survivor of prostate cancer once told me the lives saved and awareness raised by Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the area of breast cancer and women’s health issues helped paved the way for the uniquely fun Movember movement. It’s a wonderful example of engaging the masses and the raising of tides, while saving a few lives along the way.
According to the Movember website, its fundraising targets survivorship initiatives, awareness, prostate cancer research and influencing change in men’s health. And here in the United States, there has even been a recent movement to gain a $250 tax credit for those who participate.
If the longshot of a tax incentive doesn’t move you to become a Mo Bro for the cause this month, simply look to the legitimate and carefully conceived versions of the mustache from the Love Boat’s Isaac, Dennis Eckerlsey and Dr. Phil for inspiration.
It will only tickle for a little bit and would make for a great photo holiday greeting card. Ugly sweater sold separately.