Over the past week, news outlets across America have reported that President-elect Donald Trump has decided against nominating diplomat John R. Bolton for the post of Secretary of State. But was this decision due to Bolton’s support of the Iraq War? His advocacy of the assassination of Colonel Gaddafi? His wish to go to war with Cuba?
No, no and no, as it happens. It was for a slightly hairier reason – Bolton’s moustache.
Studies have indeed found in the past that moustachioed politicians are considered substantially less trustworthy and intelligent than – ironically – bare-faced bureaucrats. However, on the flip side of this facial hair conundrum, research published almost exactly a year ago this week suggested that moustaches were a sign of integrity.
This positive study, found in the British Medical Journal, suggested that facial hair enhanced perceptions of maturity, responsibility, dominance, strength and self-confidence. So what’s the answer? Are the furry-lipped amongst us wise for growing out our facial hair – or should we shave off the moustache for good?
It’s a delicate matter – of that there is no denying. At least during November, the socially acceptable charity pursuit of Movember gave us the chance to dabble and experiment with the moustache free from the razor-toting judgement of wider society.
Now, however, with those hair-filled four weeks a whole 11 months away, and the soon-to-be President declaring war on handlebars and horseshoes alike, it’s more dangerous a time than ever to shun shaving and brave the bristles.
But don’t despair – and hold off reaching for the razor just yet. We know that Mr Trump’s judgement on many matters isn’t the soundest, so why should we let him derail the great tradition of the moustache? Instead, we’ve decided to guide your shaving hand, and help you bring this gentlemanly facial hair firmly into the 21st Century.
There are several styles of moustache that are timeless, traditional and not at all showy. Drooping sides or many-curled ends are flamboyant beyond forgiveness, but simpler takes – such as the Chevron – are neat and perfectly acceptable. The Chevron requires coarse, straight hair, and is maintained by trimming in a line over your mouth. Make no mistake, this will take patience and care to grow – but that will just be an indicator of your tenacity and responsibility.
Other styles you may deign to try are the pencil – once the preserve of Clark Gable and Errol Flynn, or the Aldo Raine – thus named for moustache advocate Brad Pitt’s moustache in Inglorious Basterds. These styles both require comprehensive tending, but you couldn’t tell for looking at them.
And that is what a moustache should be. Requiring more styling than a beard, but less simple than a daily shave, they are badges of perseverance, maturity and dependence. The day may come when moustaches lose their authority and significance but, if we stick to sensible styles, we can ensure that it’s not today. Take that Mr Trump.