Thinking about growing a moustache? Torn between the handlebar and the goatee? Well relax, because many a great moustache came before you even thought about giving your upper lip it’s very own blanket. Here’s our top 10 famous moustaches for a bit of inspiration:
1. David Seaman: The Crumb Catcher (pictured above)
Moustaches weren’t uncommon among ’80s footballers (see Ruud Hullit, Mark Lawrenson and almost the entire Liverpool squad at one point, including Graeme Souness, Bruce Grobbelaar, Terry McDermott and Ian Rush). The Arsenal goalie, however, persisted with his well into the noughties.
2. Hercule Poirot: the Brain Twister
Austin Trevor, Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov, David Suchet… No matter who played the Belgian sleuth (and Agatha Christie kept him busy solving murders in Kensington from World War I until the ’70s), the meticulously pomaded curlicue is ever present and always correct.
3. Frida Kahlo: the Ms-tache
Who says men should have all the facial hair fun? The Mexican artist’s dual exhibition at the Royal Academy with her husband Diego Rivera has just finished, so for now you’ll have to just make do with the National Portrait Gallery’s largely hair-free ‘Tracey Emin as Frida Kahlo’.
4. Lord Kitchener: the Guilt Trip
Britons: your country needs you! Along with Kaiser Wilhelm II’s teutonic tea strainer and prime minister David Lloyd George’s Liberal loo brush, the British secretary of state for war’s imperial draught excluder is as an enduringly iconic symbol of WWI, no doubt encouraging millions of men into the trenches with its density and lustrousness.
5. Handlebar Club: the Moustache Maestros
Meeting at the Windsor Castle pub in Marylebone, when gallons of beer foam are presumably wiped from top lips, this society celebrating the gravity-defying mo formed in 1947. Its wonderfully named online organ Graspable Extremities lists many of the frequently asked questions that the uncertain grower might pose: ‘Should I use a moustache curler? Should I use wax? Will a handlebar moustache suit me?’ The answer to that final query: ‘You may not appreciate it at first, but over time you’ll find that it grows on you.’
6. Charlie Chaplin: the Tainted Toothbrush
The Walworth boy’s trademark since 1914 was used to great effect in his movies, but by the ’30s the image of the truncated ’tache was forever damaged by its similarity to Hitler’s little lip-warmer. Happily, Charlie got his own back on Adolf in the political satire ‘The Great Dictator’.
7. Freddie Mercury: the Testicle Tickler
Along with the leather cap, mirrored shades, gloves and bumless chaps, the ’tache was an essential element of the ‘macho biker’ look.
8. Charles II: the Royal Brush
As the first of our kings to sport only a moustache (and a tiny soul patch) instead of the regal full beard or the pious clean shave, the Merrie Monarch was a pioneer. None of our later rulers has had the audacity to sport a set of handlebars, but royalists must be secretly hoping that little George does what his 11 (male) forebears have been unable to do since: reign over us with the panache only a ’tache can confer.
9. Dave Bedford: the Running Joke
The long-distance athlete was race director of the London Marathon until 2012, but unfortunately is now better known as the ‘inspiration’ for those 118 adverts. ‘If I walk into a pub, people shout: “I’ve got your number!”’ he angrily told the Daily Telegraph in 2004, the same year he sued the directory inquiry company for what he claimed was them ripping off his image. ‘It’s quite untrue,’ said a 118 spokesman.
10. Bruce Forsyth: the Bristly Bonus
It’s always nice to see the Edmonton- born entertainer’s sergeant-major- smart whiskers atop that ear-to-ear grin. To see them… nice.
Time Out is supporting Movember in aid of men’s health charities. To donate visit moteam.co/time-out.
Illustrations: Rosco Brittin