Monday, March 14, 2011

Lip Hair Follies

Back in my antique-hustling days, I always enjoyed the peculiar Victorian relic known as the Mustache Cup. In days of old, men would lift these specially-made teacups and mugs to their mugs, and sip secure in the knowledge that the enclosure on the inside of the lip would protect their precious mustache.

But all this time, I just thought the idea was that a gentleman didn't want to get his stache wet. In fact, men of those times invariably had their proud facial hair waxed heavily, and hot coffee and tea would quickly soften and melt the wax. This not only left the fellow with a wilted face but rendered his drink nasty-tasting due to post-meltoff drip.

Which got me thinking: it's easy enough to find antique mustache cups these days, and some diligent souls even manufacture new ones - but where does a Transylvania Gentleman go to procure some mustache wax today? Besides the Interzone Mercantile, of course.

A quick tiptoe through Google's tulips revealed that mustache wax never went away and is apparently used by hordes of men, even though the subject has never come up in conversation with anyone I know. There's Gravy Jay's, Oregon Wild Hair, Firehouse, Clubman, and many more. There's a whole mustache subculture going on that I'm not privy to.

The British Handlebar Club has been keeping the lanolin lip hip since 1947. You can read their mustache wax FAQ here and check out their fascinating history here.

Since they all seem like a good bunch of old fashioned headcoat-wearing, pipe-smoking chaps, I'd probably fit right in with them, but for one sad fact: I cannot abide facial hair. For myself, I mean, on my own face. Other than an occasional Don Johnson-ish field of stubble (usually the spawn of laziness, not fashion), I'm strictly all about the clean-shaven look. Although you never know - when I get older I might finally experimentally descend into it. Till then, I'll live vicariously through the adventures of these blokes.

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