Once, as I entered the hallway toward the ESL classrooms in the church I attended weekly on Friday evenings, a close auntie who treated me very well and had known me for years said: Types of moustache names.
Jonathan, 别留胡子，太难看了! (“Don’t grow a beard, it looks terrible!”) I didn’t know for sure whether to blush for embarrassment, or laugh my head off. I simply laughed! It has become one of my favorite exchanges with a Chinese friend. This is the auntie who gave me an extra push, the courage necessary to ask my then girlfriend, to marry me.
From that day on, I knew for certain that hu2 zi3“胡子” means goatee, mustauche, or beard. I had been unsure before that night. So many of the Chinese words and phrases I have memorized and can still recall came about at times like this - born of embarassing moments, mistaken pronunciations, faux pas, and many cultural misunderstandings.
I shaved my graduate student goatee two weeks before marrying my wife of four years, who said “Yes”, even though she was present that night and accepted my 胡子 for the red, scraggly, shameless ornament it was.
Fellow students of Mandarin Chinese, do not give up! Learn to laugh at yourself, or you’ll never reach fluency.
Male mustache styles
Moustache is a facial hair grown on the upper lip or the lower jaw. According to the styles, it can be divided into various types such as Mexican moustache, handlebar style mustache, etc. In Chinese, we also call them different names according to the moustache styles.
胡子（hú zǐ）and 胡须（hú xū）are two general sayings in Chinese and can be used to refer to various mustache and beards.
八字胡（bā zì hú）is named according to its style like Chinese character “八”. It is grown on the upper lip, and it can be named 八字须（bā zì xū）and 两撇胡（liǎng piě hú）as well. In Chinese culture like Chinese drama and movies, we can see most of bad guys grow with handlebar. Therefore, we can see fewer men choose this kind moustache in our daily life.
山羊胡（shān yáng hú）is a kind of moustache grown on the lower jaw and it is short and pointed.
络腮胡（luò sāi hú）, whiskers in English, is a type kind of beard grown on the man’s face, upper lip and the lower jaw.
These three kinds of Chinese beard are commonest in China. As for other mustaches like Hollywoodian, Mutton chops, French Fork, etc are not common in China, we do not explain how to say these moustache here.
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