The Mustache: A Cultural Analysis

Mustaches are the new owls. If you're a girl and you have Pinterest, you probably know what I mean by that.

If you're not, allow me to explain.

Since the awakening of stylish craft and DIY blogs, there has always been a preferred animal of choice with which to decorate handmade pillows, iPhone cases, name it. If it was made of felt, you'd better have a cute silhouette of an animal on it. Not just any animal though. First it was birds (which spawned one of my favorite things, Put a Bird on It). It has branched off into several equally cute and dainty animals like turtles and foxes. Then, most recently, the owl has made its way into the scene. I am in no way against this. Owls are cute, guys. Well, felt owls are cute. Real owls--not so much. (see image below).

Right? See how it's staring at you with its (hilarious) cross-eyed glare? Yikes. Unless of course we're talking about Hedwig, who is a totally legitimate exception because she is a hero sidekick.

[NOTE: I feel obligated to tell you the owl in the above photo is named Archimedes, according to the website I got it from.]

Back to my point. The newest installment of this emblem-on-everything that I am aware of is The Mustache. The only way I can think to explain this is to review the role of the mustache in popular culture in recent years.

This is a regular mustache (read: nearly always creepy unless you are approximately 65 or older, in which case there are exceptions):

Note: When Brad Pitt can't even pull it off, you know it's pretty bad.

This is the extra-creepy Creeper Stache:

I realize I probably should've cropped this to get rid of the ridiculous URL at the bottom, but I think it adds to the mustache's lack of appeal.

Recently we've taken an interesting turn in which we've seen the rise of the Ironic Mustache, which has taken the nation by storm (or at least Nashville's hipster culture, which I only make fun of because I secretly have a crush on it):


I think the Ironic Mustache was probably the turning point in which we started to see the mustache's triumphant entry into acceptable culture. The mustache began to be seen as not-always-creepy and kind of quirky.

This quirkiness has somehow become endearing, and the mustache silhouette has been girl-ified into a symbol of trendiness (what? that's a phrase...). And the result is where we are now:





I'm okay with this. (Who wouldn't want to see a baby with a mustache?)

The other day I was on the elevator at work with some of my peers (or perhaps not, since I called them "peers"...) and overheard them talking about a "mustache party." Intrigued, I sideways-glanced over to see a girl flashing a super-cute invitation covered in little black mustaches, accented with pink ribbon. After the initial, "Oh my gosh! Cute!" comments faded, one girl says to the other holding the invitation, "So...what are you supposed to do?" Other Girl: " I dunno...just wear mustaches or something."

I love pop culture.

Congratulations, Mustache! Enjoy this time in the spotlight, because it's probably only a matter of time before we all collectively remember what you really are--hair on a man's upper lip--and go back to cute animals. Godspeed.