I’ll Take My Cowboy With a Mustache, Please

5clark.jpg5bt-church.jpgYes, those men and their marvelous mustaches.  And I’m talking *real* mustaches, not thin scraggly excuses or unshaven stubble or five o’clock shadows.  No, let’s take a look at some mustaches that have taken time and testosterone to cultivate.   

5clint-eastwood.jpgSo what is it about a cowboy with a mustache that sets him apart from all the rest?  Mustaches are often culturally associated with wisdom and virility, and it’s not difficult to understand why.  There’s something about a mustache that sings of maturity…masculinity.   A subject that comes up often among writers is the youthful appearance of so many celebrities, cover models and singers.  While there’s no disagreeing that Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck  are fine-looking fellows, there’s something about maturity that speaks to us as women. 

5connagher.jpgNow I know there are those of you who will disagree, in fact a recent survey discovered that an alarming number of women would refuse to kiss a man with a mustache.  So, is facial hair a matter of taste? 

A big argument against mustaches has been that they’re out of style because so many men wore them in the seventies.  The seventies?  Men have been shaving — or not shaving — selectively since the stone age!  Shaving with stone razors was technologically possible from Neolithic times.  The oldest portrait showing a shaved man with a mustache is a Scythian horseman from 300 BC. 

5redford.jpgHistorically, military men have often worn moustaches; in fact the number of nations, regiments and ranks were equaled only by the number of styles and variations. Generally, the younger men and lower ranks wore the smaller and less elaborate moustaches. As a man advanced in rank, his moustache would become thicker and bushier, until he was permitted to wear a full beard. 

I’ll bet you didn’t know there’s an American Mustache Association.  Neither did I, but they’re gung ho on protecting their rights to bear whiskers.   

5outsidertim.jpgAt The World Beard & Moustache Championships 2007 there were 6 subcategories in the moustache category: Natural Moustache – may be styled but without aids.

Hungarian Moustache – Big and bushy, beginning from the middle of the upper lip and pulled to the side.

Dalí – narrow, long points bent or curved steeply upward; areas past the corner of the mouth must be shaved.

English – narrow, beginning at the middle of the upper lip the whiskers are very long and pulled to the side, slightly curled; the ends are pointed slightly upward; areas past the corner of the mouth usually shaved. .Imperial – whiskers growing from both the upper lip and cheeks, curled upward

Freestyle – All moustaches that do not match other classes. 

5gettys.jpgOther types of moustache include:

Fu Manchu – long, downward pointing ends, generally beyond the chin

Pancho Villa – similar to the Fu Manchu but thickerHandlebar – bushy, with small upward pointing ends.

5paradise.jpgHorseshoe – Often confused with the Fu Manchu style, the horseshoe was possibly popularized by modern cowboys and consists of a full moustache with vertical extensions from the corners of the lips down to the jaw line and resembling an upside-down horseshoe.

Moustachio – bushy moustache, with hair sometimes growing down the sides of the mouth.

Taylor moustache – a thin row of fine dark hairs along the upper lip.

Pencil moustache – narrow, straight and thin like a pencil, closely clipped, outlining the upper lip, with a wide shaven gap between the nose and moustache. Also known as a Mouthbrow.

Walrus – bushy, hanging down over the lips, often entirely covering the mouth. Popular during the American Civil War.

The GG – bushy hair grown only over the corners of the mouth, shaved in the middle. 

5duval.jpgGrooming is essential.  Sideburns are optional.  But I prefer a man with a mustache any old time. 

So, what’s your preference?  Clean-shaven or sporting a cookie duster?  Who is your favorite mustachioed hero?  And my final question — have you seen any mustaches on book covers?

Stop back for my follow-up gift for you! :::wink:::wink::: 

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48 thoughts on “I’ll Take My Cowboy With a Mustache, Please”

  1. When I was young I didn’t have respect of the mustache. I always thought it was gross like a wooley worm! LOL But I dated several mustachioed men in my time and my husband has a mustache and I like it very much. I wouldn’t dare let him shave it and he doesn’t plan to. In fact, our 4 year old daughter yells at him if he so much as “teases” that he’ll shave it off. She tells him he CAN’T.

    My favorite mustachioed hero? Wow…I’m not even sure where I’d begin! LOL

    I have seen men with mustaches(and sometimes beards) on book covers, though it seems a very rare occassion when I think about it. I don’t mind it, it speaks volumes about the maturity if the picture matches the description of the character.

    *the photos were a very delicious extra this morning!*

  2. I love mustaches-my own dh has one. The only time he shaved it off, my daughter cried and wouldn’t talk to him for three days. He has never even thought of shaving since then.

    My favorite mustached hero would be Jesse Dupree from LaVyrle Spencer’s Hummingbird. I love the fit he throws when Abigail takes it upon herself to shave him. And I don’t believe I have ever seen a bookcover with a mustache on it!

    You had pictures of two of my favorite mustached men-Sam Elliot (who would not be Sam Elliot without his mustache) and Lee Horsley-such a pleasant sight to wake up to.

  3. I vote for mustaches! That’s serious facial hair.
    What is it with the little tab of hair on the chin nowadays? Reminds me of a brazilian wax. Yikes! LOL

    Favorite? Oh, that’s just too difficult. Gable has always been high on the list. Sam Elliot’s is yummy. Selleck–need we say more? Oh, the list could go on.

  4. Taryn and Terry, my husband shaved his mustache for the first time when my youngest daughter was nearly two. She refused to look him in the eye. She would sit on his lap and stare at him, but when he looked at her, she’d look away. She knew it was her daddy, but she knew there was something completely unfamiliar about him. It was a crack up. Needless to say he grew it right back.

    I don’t know if I can pick a favorite either, *lizzie, but it’d probably have to be between Sam and Tom. It’s like choosing between a hot fudge sundae and a turtle fudge sundae.

  5. I love, love a goatee. I like a mustache if it’s accompanied by some kind of beard or scruff. 😉

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a romance novel cover model with a mustache. I wonder if most people consider that a turn-off….

  6. Great pictures! A wonderful way to start the day with so many handsome guys! I like a mustache too. Unfortunately, my husbands employer doesn’t, so he’s clean shaven. Since he travels a lot he has to think of the cultures he visits. In some places in the world, there is a negative conotation to having a mustache. (not trustworthy, shifty etc.) There has been times in our life that he has sported a mustache, no beard though. I have to say that I liked it and miss it these days.

  7. Hi Cheryl! My ex always wore a big coffee strainer mustache like Sam Elliott’s (who gets my vote for best, btw). I didn’t mind it. The couple of times he shaved it off, the change was so remarkable, he always grew it right back again.

    I think (think, mind you) I have seen a cover with a mustachioed hero. The image that popped into my head was of a guy in a uniform (Civil War), but I couldn’t swear to it and there’s no way I’d ever remember the title. But I do think we could find a couple if we really went looking. I go along with non-mustachioed heroes being a marketing thing. Most women I know think they’re icky.

  8. LOL! Betsy’s post popped in while I was posting mine, and I have to comment. My mil has that attitude about mustaches. She says a guy with a mustache is not to be trusted, that a guy with whiskers on his face is hiding something. This is the same woman who told us to cut our son’s hair very short when he was young because boys with long hair are mean, and if we cut it he would calm down and be better behaved. Unbelievable! :o)

  9. A lot of employers insist on clean shaven faces, don’t they, Betsy? But I’m sure the cultural aspect is always a concern.

    I WISH I could find a cover to show, Devon. Your m-i-l is unbelieveable. If she brings it up again, you might mention that you don’t think Jesus is such a bad guy. LOL

  10. My husband has a beard & mustache. It’s not a great big full beard ( don’t like that). But my personal favorite would be a goatee. I think that’s kinda hot. But dh doesn’t care for one.

  11. Great pictures, Cheryl!

    I think most folks in the cowboy-states have a true appreciation of the mustache 🙂 I was slightly devistated when my editor told me I’d have to shave Jed from BRIDE OF SHADOW CANYON — but after five years of trying to publish my cowboys, I flipped out the straight razor and told Jed he’d just have to take one for the team 😉 My Sam-Elliot-inspired hero was none too pleased, that menacing black mustache being much a part of his silent-tough-guy personality—but we had to settle on black stuble, as the-powers-that-be felt most readers prefer a smooth face. But he’s still mustached in my mind *lol*

  12. Those photos are stunning and you have chosen well. I enjoy cowboys with mustaches and my favorite one is Wyatt Earp. There is something so masculine and appealing about it that says more than photos can capture. Here in the Southwest they sport them well.

  13. One of my favorite book scenes of all time is from HUMMINGBIRD by Laveryl Spencer, when Jesse DuFrayne realizes Miss Abigail had shaved off his mustache while he was unconcious….she thought it made him look like an outlaw—and then she told him tickled when she was trying to feed him–ROFL! And then admits she likes him better with the mustache…*g*…watching that mustache grow back was a ton of fun 😉

  14. Cheryl, interesting that the guys on our covers don’t sport moustaches. I never thought about it before–maybe because the pretty models don’t look rugged enough to wear one?

    Some guys just look naturally good in them. Personally, I never thought Robert Redford looked good in his. He was too pretty. Or Ron Howard–with his baby face. But Sam Elliott, Tom Selleck, et al. Oh my.

    My husband has had a moustache and close-trimmed beard for most of our married life, and that’s a lo-ong time! I remember once he shaved both off and was completely clean-shaven. The dog growled and barked at him–and the girls all cried. He just didn’t look like their daddy. He grew it all back and never shaved it off again. LOL.

  15. On the original editions of Elizabeth Lowell’s ONLY series three of the heroes on the inside covers had mustaches–I was actually shocked to see that Caleb Black had a mustache—I knew Whip and Reno did, both sporting them quite handsomely, but for some reason, my mind had shaved Caleb, and my mental image of him remains clean-shaven.

    But I do think when you visualize cover models, clean shaven comes to mind first. I have seen quite a few closely grimmed facial hair on some contemporary covers lately.

  16. Cheryl, great post!! 🙂 My, oh my, I don’t know where to start. All those great western, hunky actors! My heart is pumping, my knees are weak, and my mouth is dry. What a wonderful way to get my day going. I can’t make up my mind who would be my absolute favorite. I just love men with mustaches! All of them. For some reason, Clark Gable flitted across my vision though while I was reading your blog. He had a really sexy mustache. But, Tom, Sam, Lee, and Robert Redford also had kissable mustaches. Then there’s Tim. Love to kiss him.

    No, I’ve never seen a mustachioed man on a book cover. That’s too bad. Maybe someday a publisher will wake up and decide to do one. I just hope and pray that’s my cover. Dear Lord, send it to me please!

  17. Oops, I was going to say more. Not sure what I hit.
    Although NICE sums your post up fairly well. 🙂

    I read once that a chin dimple is the most widely done cosmetic surgery in America…for men.
    So who would grow a beard when they’ve paid a bunch of money for their chin dimple.

    I like movie facial hair fine but I’m not a big fan of it in real life though. But it’s okay. Not gonna fight about it when you’ve got those pictures there proving it can be done really well.

    Favorite? You know, if you hadn’t shown me the picture I doubt if I’d have known Redford wore a mustache in Butch Cassidey. So I may not be all that ‘hair aware’.

  18. I don’t mind a mustache as long as it’s trimmed a little under the nostrils. If it’s not, the mustache just looks like an extension of their nose hair. Yuck.

  19. My vote is for a mustache– DH has one (he has one since I met him–13 years!) and I can’t imagine him without it– nor would I want to 😉 It makes the man!

  20. Nice photos! My dh doesn’t wear a mustache and when I wrote a story with a hero who did, I asked a friend who’s husband had one what it felt like! She started laughing and then explained. You gotta love research!

  21. Great post, Cheryl! Sam Elliott’s is #1…and I think Tom Selleck without a mustache (e.g. Friends) looks weird. My hubby has had one our entire life together. Oh, I would miss it LOL. I can’t even imagine him any other way. And it’s too funny about mustached heroes. I just removed one from the hero because the e-cover prototype looked so hot barefaced. Now after reading these posts, I realize book covers don’t have usually have mustache guys…

  22. I think that a cowboy should have a mustache. They look more authentic and actually depict his rugged look well. All of my old favorit4es Western stars look wonderful with mustaches.

  23. Hi Cheryl – What a fun post. Love moustaches! My hubby has had one since we met. I made him shave it once and told him to immediately regrow it. I never knew he had a very thin upper lip! Remember the ironjaws? I still love those. Think they’re really sexy. Give me a man with facial hair anytime!

  24. Sam Elliott in Louis Lamours The Quick and The Dead. My, oh my, what a handsome man—- er moustache.
    I have never seen a mustachioed man on a book cover.
    I do prefer a clean shaven man in my every day life.

  25. I heard some movie reviewer say once, “Tom Selleck has never made a good movie with hair on his face.”
    Odd that would be stuck in my head. I wish I could forget it so I had the available space to memorize my cell phone number, but N-o-o-o-o-o!
    I’m not saying I agree. Fact is my favorite Sellect movies are Quigley Down Under and the ‘Three Men’ movies. So the reviewer and I disagree.

  26. Your photos are great! Enjoy looking at these real men, who look great! Mustaches are fine for a certain role, but not every man suits one.

  27. What a great blog Cheryl. Years ago I dated a guy with a moustache. Didn’t like the way it felt, but maybe it was more him than the whiskers. I agree that Sam and Tom are gorgeous with moustaches. But what IS it with these little patches of hair under the lower lip? Am I missing something?

  28. Thank you for that link, Taryn! He’s a good looking hero, too!

    Glad you ladies enjoyed today’s topic. You are girls after my own heart. Looks as though Sam and Tom are our top men with mustaches.

    Stay tuned for my gift to you…..

  29. I agree with Ruth that cowboys should definitely have mustaches! My dad had a mustache and beard growing up and it was always so shocking when he shaved it in the summer.

  30. My husband has a full beard, which I trim for him every few weeks. I love a man with well groomed facial hair. My favorite hero with a mustache…well, since my husband is a hero to many I guess I would have to say it’s him.
    My son’s first wife asked him to shave his mustache shortly after the wedding. Her response to his clean shaven face? “Put it back!” MMMM, wonder why the marriage lasted only 3 years?

  31. Elizabeth – I HATE the soul patch.

    When my two kids were little I started wearing my hair REALLY short. My husband grew a ‘soul patch’ in protest. He said he wouldn’t shave it until I grew my hair back. So I said…Well, you can probably fill in the blank.

    Now I have three kids, long hair, and a clean-shaven husband.

    Julie – policemen typically grow mustaches when they join the force to ‘look older’. I wonder why they’re so popular with cowboys?

  32. Cheryl, I agree about choosing between Sam & Tom; the sweet analogy is on target!!
    Also agree with Mary and “thumbs down” on the reviewer! LOL
    A FAVORITE pic of dad: 1955 with a 6-8″ beard & top hat for town centennial. As I grew up, he was clean-shaven but after age 60, he grew mutton chop whiskers which are OK.
    I ADORED red curly beard hubby sported when we meet, shaved just before wedding– it was like marrying a stranger with a weak chin! Now just a grey mustache.
    Still LOVE beards and mustaches even though I was verbally threatened by a man in a beard.
    Two male friends had long beards that made them look like hermits ala Howard Hughes.

  33. Terry, thanks for recalling Lee H’s name for me; searched on google & found Paradise TV series that we can be on the lookout for; sounds great!
    Cheryl labels her pics so I clicked on them & confirmed Thomas Haden Church as I thought. Tom is missing but Sam rated twice-My son David & I love watching Gettysburg- LOTS of variations of facial hair there.

  34. Lou, I have to confess-when I was a teenager I swooned over Paradise and Young Riders. So much so that my oldest son is named Ethan! He likes to laugh and tell everyone that his mom named him after a western soap-opera star. He just doesn’t see the attraction.

  35. I guess mine would be a city cowboy..LOL…no mustache for him. But I do like the five o’clock shadows 🙂

  36. Wow this is great that there are ladies out there
    that support good whiskers. This will give some of the fellas encouragment at our next planning session for the 2009 World Beard & Moustache Championships here in Anchorage, Alaska May 23rd,
    2009. Want to see some great staches we will have them there!Oh and on a note of humor, our local beard & moustache contest was started by a group of ladies 57 years ago as a fun thing during the winter and to raise money for charity.
    David Traver
    Pres. Southcentral Beard & Moustache club

  37. I have an exact Wyatt Earp mustache plus the Van Dyke as Quigley Down Under. It’s almost completely white. My wife seems to have the words, “Shave that damned thing off”, imbedded in her soundtrack loop. People call me “Colonel”.
    It appears to be an excellent tool in behavioral science as the remarks vary, always answered by my silence.
    I have noticed, that women in particular, are fond of the facial hairs, and admire them. So, to all you ladies, THANK YOU. This mustache and Van Dyke are now a part of my personality.

  38. FYI: Police and Cowboys grow mustaches for the same reason. They are called Campaign Mustaches, as worn by US Cavalry of the 19th Century. The straight razors grow dull and the blade does not cut crisply at the edges of the mustache causing it to sprawl out over time. The Troopers would gauge how much time the soldier was campaigning (fighting).
    The seasoned veterans all had the largest mustaches and the experience was right there for all to see. Much the same as the greatest fighting military generals since recorded history, were bald. Testosterone causes it, as it does mustache growth.

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