We found these stories right under our noses.
Why the Long Face?
In 2003 Bhupati Das, from the Indian state of West Bengal, announced his plan to break the world record in “mustache weightlifting.” The 48-year-old said he’d been inspired to try it six years earlier when he read about a man who had lifted a typewriter with his mustache. “I made up my mind,” Das said, “and started nursing my mustache.” He “nursed” it to a length of four feet, oiling it twice a day (he had to keep it tucked behind his ears and covered with a cloth while at work). Alas, it was all for naught: He failed to break the Guinness world record of 24kg (52.9 lbs.).
The Strong, Silent Type
In 2005 Suzy Walker of Kirkland, Georgia, started going everywhere—even to restaurants and movies—with a life-size mannequin. And the mannequin sported a fake black mustache. She told reporters that she did it because the mannequin, so altered, looked exactly like her husband, a Navy sailor deployed on a submarine. “When I put the mustache on him, I couldn’t believe the resemblance,” she said. Her husband said he’d become the butt of jokes around the sub, but that he didn’t mind—he thought it was funny.
In 2004 police in northern India were offered an extra 65 cents a month if they grew mustaches after a researcher found that officers with mustaches are taken more seriously. But superintendent Mayank Jain said that mustaches would be monitored…to make sure that they didn’t give any officers a “mean look.”
In the 1972 Olympics, mustache-wearing Mark Spitz put on one of the greatest swimming performances in history, winning a record seven gold medals and breaking world records in all seven events. Years later he told Time magazine that a Russian coach at the Games had asked him about the mustache. Spitz jokingly replied that it “deflects water away from my mouth, allows my rear end to rise and makes me bullet shaped in the water, and that’s what had allowed me to swim so great.” The next year, Spitz said, “every Russian male swimmer had a mustache.”
A Stash of ‘Stache Facts
- In the 19th century it was illegal for British Army officers to shave their mustaches. The rule was repealed on October 6, 1916.
- According to the MGAA (Mustache Growers Association of America), October 6 is International Mustache Day.
- Medical researchers say mustaches first appear on adolescent males at the corners of the upper lip and then spread to cover the entire area above the lip.
- There are 27 words for “mustache” in Albanian. Madh describes a bushy one, posht is one that hangs down at the ends, and fshes is a long mustache with bristly hairs. (They also have 27 different words for “eyebrows.”)
- In 2006 author Dax Herrera (we’ve never heard of him, either) sold his mustache, called “the Captain,” on eBay for $105.
- A snood is a type of hair net used to protect and shape mustaches.
- During the Victorian era, wax was often used to keep large mustaches in shape. That created a problem for men drinking hot beverages—the heat would melt the wax into the drinks. In 1830 Englishman Harvey Adams invented the “mustache cup.” The cups had a “mustache guard” across the rim, with a small hole that allowed mustached men to safely sip their tea. Mustache cups became popular all over Europe and the United States, and are still made today.
- In 1991 Barbara Mossner of Mount Clemens, Michigan, was ordered to pay her ex-husband $2,800 for damaging his record collection…and for drawing a mustache on his Frank Sinatra poster.