Tuesday, August 3, 2010

stache or not


Apparently the mustache is back in vogue. My two sons, ages 23 and 30 have recently grown one. Their great-great-great grandfather, Palestine, would approve. I've always thought they were quite attractive on the right man, in a Clark Gable kind of way. The topic of the mustache has been thrown around a lot this summer at the manor, such as which styles to avoid (the Hitler--he does look quite nice without his trademark) and how long to let them grow before trimming. The longest recorded moustache belongs to Bajansinh Juwansinh Gurjar of Ahmedabad, India. It had not been cut for 22 years and was 12 feet, 6 inches long in 2004. Stinky.

Like the clean shaved Hitler, there are those who would not be recognized without their trademark 'staches. Did you know that after his death, the image of Frank Zappa's mushache was copyrighted by the Zappa Family Trust? Funny, Groucho Marz and Charlie Chaplin, both famous for their mustaches, sported artificial ones.

I certainly hope the Frida Kahlo mustache does not become the new look for women. I like to keep my facial hair, not that I have a lot, mind you, completely in check.

The word "mustache" derives from 16th century French moustache, which in turn is derived from the Italian mostaccio (14th century), from Medieval Latin mustacium (8th century), Medieval Greek moustakion (9th century), which ultimately originates as a diminutive of Hellenistic Greek mustax, probably derived from Hellenistic Greek mullon "lip". However, the Hindi word "moochh" for a moustache also bears a close resemblance.



Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century, a recent quirky Blogger "Blog of Note" caught my eye. It's a collection of vintage photos of mustachioed men and delightful commentary accompanying. There has also much much discussion over at Reggie Darling's blog about a certain mug in a beautiful set of French china he recently purchased. Originally, he thought the odd cup, with a semi-circular ledge inside was an invalid cup. Actually, it turned out to be a mustache cup, which were designed in the 1860s by British potter Harvey Adams, to keep the mustache dry, while drinking tea.

My great-great grandfather, Palestine Hanna, who wore a grand mustache, drank from a mustache cup to keep his dry. My grandfather told me of a funny concoction Palestine made, as a cure for headaches.

my great-great grandfather
Palestine Hanna,
sporting a long walrus style mustache



Cure, 1919



Palestine called it
coffee soup, a concoction
made to cure his head.
Grandpa watched him
toast the bread,
rip it up in jagged shreds,
drop them one by one
in a willow bowl,
pour on darkest java-brew
and eat it with a pewter
spoon, since it stopped
the lip of his mustache cup. 



Tess Kincaid, 2010










photos: Hitler, styles and cups from Google images

81 comments:

  1. Apparently, from the chart, the Hitler style mustache is actually called the "toothbrush". I doubt it will ever be known by any other name.

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  2. I generally don't care for facial hair, but my 3-year-old has been fascinated with mustaches for some time now. His favorite is the imperial style, which is hard to imagine on his little blond face!

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  3. The very first time I left our first newborn with WT, I arrived home to find junior sporting a Sharpie marker mustache. It lasted a whole week. Let's just say I was not amused. (I recently told this story to my son, having just grown a real mustache!)

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  4. I'm not big of facial hair but on the right man I don't mind it. I do like a 5 o'clock shadow. I didn't know they were coming back in vogue. I'm with you on the boycott of Frida's facial hair!

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  5. I am intrigued with how many chaps these days, including one of my sons, is doing the trimmed goatee business. And of course didn't we all love Tom Selleck's upper lip in the Magnum PI days? (Well, there were other bits of him that were rather gorgeous, too!) I often wonder if men grow facial hairs to cover up some feature fault. I think in the case of the current goatee fashion, it's just that ... a fashion. They have to shave the other bits of their face if they just do a moustache or a goatee, don't they? But thanks for all the wonderful in-depth info on the topic, Ms. Willow! And LOVE those special mugs!

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  6. Growing up I was never a fan of facial hair. But my boyfriend has a nicely trimmed beard that I find quite attractive on him and couldn't imagine him any other way.

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  7. a toothbrush...how interesting...i have the full beard myself...though i have tried a few of these...

    bread in coffee, interesting...

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  8. I really don't like the pencil staches. They always make me think ..... Dirty Sanchez.

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  9. My Dad had the Clark Gable and my Mom always said he better not shave it off...I never saw him any other way..maybe that's why I sort of like facial stuff!!

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  10. I would not have recognised Hitler without the tache!
    I do love the name Palestine - have never heard it before.

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  11. I've had some form of facial hair off and on for the past 18 years or so and go back and forth. I only had just a mustache once, back in the early 1980s and thought it was a disaster. There is the whole thing of the "ironic mustache" that was popular a few years ago. That was a bit too ironic for me.

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  12. I have noticed a certain re-birthing of the moustache, though personally, I've never been a fan. I've heard a lot about people trying to reclaim the toothbrush moustache (made infamous of course by Hitler) who wish to dispel the negative connotations it has, naturally. I also think that many Asian societies are doing the same about the swastika. Interesting how these things develop.

    I love the idea of a cup, tailor-made for moustache wearers. Such a novel and quaint idea, and I am sure it was very useful for your grandfather :D

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  13. I knew that if I stuck around long enough I would come back into fashion. Not sure where mine would come on that stylechart - probably a painters' brush.

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  14. A fascinating post, dear Willow.
    My dear Papa had a wonderful bristly
    a little-bit-hitlery moustache.
    On the whole they are to be avoided.

    Palestine's is EXTRA SPECIAL

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  15. Zappa didn't make the chart! None of them have his cute little patch anyway. Did I just call Frank Zappa cute? I'll mumble away now....

    Great post!

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  16. My hubby has a mustache and goatee. I ask to trim it once in awhile just for fun but he keeps it trimmed just fine. I have always liked hair on mens faces. Sometimes I feel sorry for them that they have to shave every day. I have seen some mustache cups and I figured they made sense for men who sported a full mustache.

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  17. Hi W
    Your GGG is a Paul Newman ringer for sure. Your genealogy sounds / looks pretty impressive and PLEASE don't tell me you have children that age;I just don't believe it ;)

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  18. Palestine's mustache is the BEST! And I love your little poem!

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  19. Palestine was quite the handsome gent! My almost 14-year old grandson walked into my house last week sporting a little goatee! I almost fell over and TODAY? He is having braces applied ......... somehow they don't go together.

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  20. What one has to remember is that there are very few ways in which a man can make himself look more like a woman. He can grow long hair. He can wear false breasts. He can dress in womens clothes. But the only real way of emasculating himself is to change what is NATURAL to him; he can make his chin baby-smooth. Sweety-pie. Personally I like to be a natural guy; whickers and all. If you don't like men to look like men then I pity you!

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  21. Cro, I wholeheartedly agree. My man wears a long, bushy goatee. I adore it.

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  22. Helen, I am still giggling over the braces/goatee combo!! What a stitch!!

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  23. Ken, flattery will get you everywhere, my friend. xx

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  24. I like the cup, how weird!

    At first I thought the post below might refer to an amazing old factory here in Stoke-on-Trent who make the lovely Burleigh pottery. You would love both the factory and the product. The factory is in Middleport, I think you can do a virtual tour if you feel like a trip into the past.

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  25. I love Palestine's moustache as well, and Tom Selleck well! anytime. My husband has had a moustache most of our marriage, every once in awhile he shaves it off and I just can't get used to him. My youngest son sports facial hair only because he's too lazy to shave daily. And then it's a big job, for me with the orange hairs all over the bathroom, the first time he shaved it off he shoved it so hard down the drain it was like an SOS pad. O plumbers! Neil Gaiman, and Harlen Ellison recently discussed the best advice one author gave another, which happened to be to put hair conditioner on your beard let it soften for a few minutes and then go to town with your razor. So my son the author, did it... So no stache today,

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  26. A fun read on the almighty stash. I now can't get Jimmy Buffet's
    "Pencil Thin Mustache" out of my mind. I'll be humming it all day, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

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  27. LOVE the chart of mustache styles. I didn't know the names of some of them. DH has always been clean shaven. He grew a mustache and beard several years ago on a camping trip...when he got home and looked in the mirror it was quite gray (unlike his regular hair). He outlawed facial hair forever!

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  28. a fun post. my ex-husband sported a mustache as well as a number of my other male friends. The shocker is when you meet them w/a mustache and/or beard and then they shave it off without warning. Yikes, who is this?

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  29. My father had a mustache for many years then one day slipped whilst shaving and off went half of it. He thought it would be a good joke to see how many people noticed so walked around for an entire day with only half a mustache - only one person commented (that was me) and everyone else just gave him sidelong looks all day!

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  30. Oh, Madame Butterfly, I LOVE that half-mustache story!! ((giggles))

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  31. So a little gluten in your coffee could cure a headache? Maybe I've inherited my headaches from Palestine! I'll have to try his cure. Although, dunking a donut in my coffee and then drinking it sounds tastier! :)

    Remember baby Taylor calling WT by his name and adding 'fuzzy' to it, as if it was part of his name?

    So...do your boys have the Gable or big Tom Selleck style staches?
    I love The Mister's beard..hope he never shaves it!

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  32. The younger brother looks just like Errol Flynn and the older got frustrated and shaved his Sanchezy one!

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  33. One of my friends tried to grow a moustache decades ago but his hair was so light, SWMBO had to help him out with deft application of eyebrow pencil.

    I've had a moustache, a goatee, a van dyke, but a few months ago noted my double chin was growing into a triple. I've been letting everything grow since then and now resemble the late Jerry Garcia. I tell SWMBO I'm going for the ZZ Top look. She is not amused.

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  34. Great post... I enjoyed the information. My grand mother told me when I was young to be cautions of anyone with a mustache as they are obviously hiding something. I don't know if it's true, but I do find myself judging sometimes before I know the person better. I do like painting guys with hairy faces, adds drama and character sometimes.....

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  35. Lovely post, willow!
    I kissed a man with a moustache. Once. Just the once...

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  36. Mine hub has a mustache but I would be hard pressed to categorize it from the chart. He's not very hirsute and it just grows as it grows. He does keep it trimmed out of his mouth though. He also wore a full beard for many many years. He had been in the habit of only shaving every three days or so, just enough time between to sandpaper my face. I told him shave or don't but cut out the every three days thing. so he quit shaving. Then one day about 16 years ago, he shaved it off. I have to admit, I had missed his smooth face next to mine. Still has the mustache though.

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  37. Your wonderful explanation about where the word moustache came from had me on the edge of my seat... was LONGING to know and you kept me waiting right to the end of the paragraph!! Fab post. x

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  38. My your great, great grandfather was quite handsome! Those eyes are incredibly intense. Nice post!

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  39. Willow M'dear:
    Oh my, how the topic is whizzing around the blogosphere! Thanks for the shout on of my blog's recent natterings on the subject of mustaches and the vessels mustachioed men use(d) to keep them clean whilst sipping hot beverages. BTW your g-g-grandfather's 'stache is incredible! Thanks, Reggie

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  40. Fun post, and informative as well. As a young writer, I used to write "moustache," but altered my spelling to "mustache" eventually, after seeing it that way numerous times. Now I know where my confusion began! ;-)

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  41. I seem to wind up with men who sport mustaches--I guess I like them! Joe's is pretty close to his face, and not really all that noticeable the way some are.

    I remember being afraid of a relative when I was little--he had a beard and mustache,and I don't think I had ever seen them before, so he frightened me. He was very nice.

    Hitler gives me the willies either way!

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  42. Very interesting read of the face brushes. Don't really see many on faces anymore or so it seems. Beards seem to be more prevalent? == barbara

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  43. We have a wonderful friend, who is also a small town doctor. He sports a huge handlebar mustache. He keeps it well groomed, complete with a good waxing.

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  44. Not all men with mustaches are stereotypes, or evil, but all men who drive black pick up trucks and make the news for doing something awful (and often fatal) to a woman because she broke up with them and they couldn't handle it, have mustaches. Always.

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  45. Quite an interesting story Willow and so my great information. Love your research topics. Palenstine's looks quite dignified. Love the Clark Gable look.
    QMM

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  46. Check out these photos of the 2009 mustache and beard championships....:)

    I have never known Mr O without a mustache and beard...

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  47. Oliag, those beard championship photos are just incredible! Some, well, most of them look like they just stepped out of a fairy tale! Thanks for the link!

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  48. Like so many, I had a 'stache from the time I was 18 until I was 35. It was the style, ya know. Looking back, with the long hair and 'stache, I kinda looked like a 70's porn star. (If only!!) maybe I'll do a post about that!

    I recently found an old drivers license with me sporting that look. And to top it off, my freakin EYES WERE CLOSED! And they let me keep that license!

    Thankfully, I haven't kept the mustache!

    Rick

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  49. I like the mustache on men as well as beard or goatee but it all needs to be kept neat otherwise NO NO egg in the beard.

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  50. Cool stuff! Hope your sons have opted for some of the tamer selections from your chart(i.e., no Dalis or Hitlers). Your grandfather looks quite dapper.

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  51. Willow, I just had to do a quick mustache post on my blog!

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  52. It would be hard to Imagine,say,Groucho or Charlie Chaplin without a tash!
    I have NEVER grown one myself, but maybe I should, if only to twirl it with menace like a silent movie "baddie"!

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  53. What a fun post! Thank you, Willow. I prefer the horseshoe style 'stache on my dear hubby...and miss it since he went bare-faced a few years back. Something to do with gray hairs appearing ...

    BTW, I told you I would let you know when next I offered a giveaway...

    well, I'm giving away a DVD on Monday, August 9th so, you might want to put your name in the hat! And, as it relates, you could probably do a post alone on Orthodox monastics facial hair ; ' )

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  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  55. Blogger Harnett-Hargrove said...

    Sorry typo- Do I detect a stache fetish around here? I do have to call out the Frida Kahlo brow when I see it, it overshadows the other. -j

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  56. wonderful post - love the trivia, especially the bit about the zappa trust! and groucho & chaplin's mustaches were fake!!! who'd of thunk it!

    palestine did indeed have a grand mustache!

    personally, i'm quite attracted to men's facial hair - with the exception 'the toothbrush' or anything associated with that most despicable man ....

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  57. The problem with my "stache" and or a beard is the number of different colors in it. It just doesn't look good.

    I do think, having said that, men should wear what they are endowed with. I mean a full beard, and hair as long as it wants to grow. You commented on the Indian with the longest mustache as 22 feet something, and there is a man in India whose hair was so long he couldn't walk or move with it dragging. It had to be loaded in a cart and a hired boy pushed the cart.

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  58. Palestine was quite dashing! I would be tempted to wear a moustache, but I have such a baby face... duh! :) The Bach

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  59. Bach, I thought your beard several years back was quite dashing!

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  60. Willow
    Your grandfather was a very
    strikingly handsome man. Must
    be a family trait as you are goodlooking too. I like gable's and the English is the neat on.
    Very cute topic. yvonne

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  61. Nothing wrong with a moustachioed man, Willow! Your grandpa looks fine - and your poem's fine too. Those empire styles positively bristle!

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  62. I've always liked mustaches on men. My ex looked ridiculous without his...which he was almost never without during our 26 years of marital unbliss.

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  63. Oh dear, I had no idea there were so many different styles of staches. I'm not a fan of staches per se, but I love to see a little scruff on a man.

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  64. i've had the goat/mustache thing going on for a couple years now--havent been without a stache for a good 30 years now...ol' Adolph pretty much ruined the toothbrush for everyone, din't he..oh well, it looks pretty stupid anyway

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  65. Dear Willow, In Hungary, the moustache, along with countless other things, is taken very seriously indeed and no self respecting Magyar would be without one. Carefully coiffured with pointy ends of course!!

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  66. fantastic post. and without the tash Hitler looks almost genial. Scary notion.

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  67. A fun post dear Willow, I however cannot like old Adolf with or without the camouflage.

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  68. i am diggin' the 'john singer sergeant' works. xxxx

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  69. Hi! Willow-
    What a very interesting post, I know that it's about mustaches and not about Hitler...per se, but without the "stash" he do look less..."intimidating!"
    Thanks, for sharing!
    DeeDee ;-D

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  70. What goes around, comes around. I knew 'staches would come back. And then they'll go, but then appear again. Men, too, are slaves to fashion.

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  71. Crazy photos...the non-mustached Hitler was fairly surprising.

    I'm not big on shaving, so I usually have general stubble around my face. But only once have I let it grow out to anything 'substantial' and in that case it was the whole shebang. I shaved it down to just a mustache just for the effect but then it came off within the same hour.

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  72. Great post, I'll be checking back to see what other interesting things you have to say. :-) We had a mustache cup when I was growing up, even though my dad didn't have any facial hair at all. Odd. I was hoping you'd find the Mustaches of the 19th Century - did you also notice The Century of the Beard? It's a sister site. Love them both. :-)

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  73. wow, Hitler does look very different without the mustache. He is such a frightening man that I don't think anyone can pull off that mustache without looking demonic. I was scared of Charlie Chaplin when I was growing up because of his mustache, it reminded me of evil Adolf.

    Mustaches are resurfacing. When I was in my early 20s I had one that my friends now call the porn 'stache. I am not a big fan but they do add character to one's face.

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  74. wow, Willow good to see you back on Sepia, kind of. I'm not a moustache fan either, but last week I shard that I do have two antique moustache fine china cups. There is a lip halfway across the top of these mugs to protect the moustaches; makes me laugh because they are fine china. I will have to photo and post them on the blog. This has reminded me of those mugs as last week with the dialogue about moustaches.

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  75. Two kinds of facial hair that seem to be in vogue these days really turn me off- stubble and that little patch of hair under the lip...yuck! But maybe I'm just old. I also don't like the beard without the mustache-look, except maybe on Amish men where it belongs. I like most other mustaches and beards, though, having come of age(so to speak) in the hippie years.
    Wonderfully interesting post, Willow.
    Barbara

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  76. I agree with Barbara about the patch under the lip. Icky.
    Palestine, though, was one handsome man, with or without the mustache.

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  77. I do love Palestine's mustache. I am a facial hair fan in general, and enjoy all sorts of beards, goatees, etc. Quite fun in the right context. I don't even mind the soul patch of which some people were speaking.

    Do you know I never saw my grandfather without his trademark mustache? Not once.

    Great post!

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  78. Never saw a likeness of Hitler without that damed stashe. I have threatened to shave mine off a number of times, but my wife said there would be a price to be paid if I did. Mine vacillates between a Chevron and Walrus.

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  79. Palestine's moustache was certainly the envy of every other man of the time who wished for a moustache! It's fabulous!

    I have only two ancestors (that I know of now) who sported moustaches, both great-grandfathers. One of them chose a moustache because he had a disfiguring scar from a horse's kick and the hair covered it.

    Interesting post.

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  80. Frank's was copyrighted? Ha!
    Terrific post & poem Willow.
    Your creativity never ceases to amaze me.

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  81. Hahaha. But aren't you always such a delightful wit and a bit of surprise. I had no idea that you had two sons besides your lovely daughter. I have two sons too - the joys of my life - yet, no moustaches. How interesting that you say this is back in fashion. They come and go just like women's do's. :)

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)