The I Ching, one of the Five Classics of Confucian philosophy in China, speaks of facial hair as superfluous. “To devote care to it for its own sake, without regard for the inner content of which it is but an ornament, would bespeak a certain vanity.” Pencil moustache guide.
While this might be faintly damning of mustaches, there is implicit another idea, that mustaches as ornaments can convey certain aspects of one’s inner nature. Consequently, if you are the kind of man to take the brave step of growing out a fabulous mustache, make sure that what inner nature you convey is not an inner nature of pure lameness.
In order to avoid this woeful misstep, a man needs to think hard about the character of his mustache. Some styles cannot help but be lame. The walrus mustache is one of these. The walrus mustache features a thick curtain of hair that covers the top lip, and often the bottom lip as well. While this may appear to suggest magnificence, it inevitably suggests slovenliness as food inevitably will get stuck in that hairy barrier to the mouth, and every drink is through this curtain of hair. The walrus mustache is not only lame; it is gross.
Also gross, but in a different way, are pencil mustaches. Nothing says sinister like a pencil mustache, that thin, often faint line of hair across the top lip. Unfortunately, nothing says sniveling and cowardly like a pencil mustache as well.
A horseshoe mustache is lame because a man might as well grow a Fu Manchu instead. The horseshoe mustache, one that stretches to either side of the chin around the lips is the poor cousin of the Fu Manchu. Instead of being attached at the skin all the way around like the horseshoe mustache, the Fu Manchu features the two sides of the mustache at either corners of the mouth grown super long into two ropey strands that hang exactly over the territory the horseshoe mustache traces.
How to rock a mustache
Like pencil mustaches, which are most assuredly lame, the Fu Manchu is also thin and also sinister, but at least it is up front about it. Where a man with a pencil mustache might be up to something, is probably up to something, a man with a Fu Manchu is most assuredly up to something, make no mistake about it. A man with a Fu Manchu might very well also be a kung fu master as well. The Fu Manchu is not lame at all, but few men can aspire to the greatness it requires.
A man who wears a handlebar mustache, a thick, sculpted and bushy bow that curls up at the points, suggests he is the kind of man who fights dirty, so it is therefore lame. Lamer still is the man with a petite handlebar mustache. It is not cute. It is the desperate look of a man who not only fights dirty, but is also petty himself, so there are lots of fights.
Not every mustache is lame, however. While the Fu Manchu may bespeak a certain pristine level of sinister greatness, the English mustache, another that has grown to really long strands on either corner of the mouth, suggests a fighter with strength, pride, toughness, and nobility. An English mustache is bushier and thicker than the Fu Manchu and its points stick straight out to either side, defying gravity.
The Dali is the opposite of the Fu Manchu because its strands bow upwards. If the English mustache defies gravity, the Dali makes a mockery of gravity. It suggests vision, or perhaps, madness. It is up to you to decide whether the Dali mustache is lame or not. It cares nothing about your silly bourgeoisie pretensions.
No mustache is quite so lame as the Imperial mustache. Nothing says overcompensation like the ultra-thick Imperial mustache that bows upwards too, but like two biceps flexing. Unfortunately, rather than suggesting strength, the Imperial suggests excess, the kind of man who takes himself way too seriously. Wear this mustache and prepare to feel ridiculous often.
A special place in the lameness pantheon of mustaches is set aside for the toothbrush mustache. Famously worn by Charlie Chaplin, it might have committed itself to history as gracefulness personified. Unfortunately, it was also the mustache worn by Adolf Hitler, which poisons any chance it might have for grace. So associated with unbridled evil is this mustache, often dubbed the Hitler mustache, that it simply requires no describing; we all know of which mustache I speak.
So if you grow out a mustache, give special care to who has worn such mustaches in the past. Is this the image you want to convey, the sense of self you want to suggest? Remember, in the movies, it is often the villains who wear the mustaches and can twirl them around their fingers as their evil scheme unfolds. Do you really want to be that guy?