What’s behind the modern-day mustache mania?


Fascination with beards and mustaches takes many forms; some people grow them, others are attracted (or repulsed) by them, a few win championships with them, and others write about them at just about every chance they get.

And, chances are, some mustache aficionados (“mustachianados?”) are searching for the upper-lip strip of face furniture on the Internet right this very second. Well, quite a few, actually, according to Yahoo’s search data.

According to the company, which sends out occasional “what’s spiking” emails, over the last month, the ‘stache-curious users of its search engine have put the mustache on the must-search list.


“Over the past month,” the latest email tells us, “top searched mustaches are: ‘batman mustache’, ‘dog with mustache’, ‘cat mustache’, ‘ronnie batman mustache’.” The e-mail also offers up some of this week’s top mustache-related searches on Yahoo. They include ‘mr money mustache’, ‘mustache popping out iPhone 5 case’, ‘mustache clip art’, ‘mustache party’ and ‘mustache party supplies’.

Although I’m at a loss as to what’s behind this specific spike in mustache mania (besides the possibility that the friends of one Mr. Ronnie Batman Mustache have decided to execute a well-planned trick on him), I have noticed a particular proliferation of one very specific style of tonsorial topiary -- the meticulously groomed and shaped, hipster-appropriated handlebar -- which has become so ubiquitous in popular culture that walking down the street is starting to feel like venturing into a carnival tent into a Wild West saloon and out through a blacksmith’s shop of yore.

Handlebars are being used as bottle openers, pink plush ones are being strapped to the front of cars to indicate a new ride-sharing service, embroidered onto slippers and printed onto adhesive bandages. A few weeks back, a friend even emailed me a photo of a handlebar mustache piñata she’d seen at a child’s birthday party. (If you think that’s an aberration, check Etsy, where there are currently more than a dozen versions on offer.)

My theory? The handlebar mustache, simple to render and instantly recognizable in silhouette, has become entrenched as a kind of bifurcated byword for nostalgic longing, a symbolic shorthand that’s being used to signify, key into and co-opt a larger, overarching trend -- that of modern-day culture’s renewed appreciation of authenticity and heritage brands.

Or maybe I’m just splitting hairs.


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