The mustachioed man gets no respect.

His friends mock his razor aversion. Women cross the street to avoid his unshaven upper lip. Children duck behind their mothers’ legs at the sight of his confusing facial cultivation.

“Or that skimpy mustache,” says Nick Callanan of No Umbrella Media in Portland, “that makes people wonder, ‘Why would you do this to yourself?’ “

Life for men with mustaches, Callanan said, is simply different. It’s a facial hair truth that Callanan felt firsthand a few years ago after he sidelined his razor for the month-long ‘stache-growing extravaganza known as March Mustache Madness.

It began as an attempt to beat the winter blues with winter bristles. But as Callanan and others soon noticed, modern mustache intolerance was thick.

Three years ago, the folks at No Umbrella Media decided it was time to reinstate the mustache’s rightful place in society and on men’s faces, and Stache Pag was born.

The yearly pageant is a celebration of whiskers – from the mutton chop and handlebar to the delicate wisp and lip-concealing cookie duster. It’s an effort “to let people know, ‘Yes, we are quality human beings,’ ” said Callanan.

And just like the finely combed or wild and free mustaches on men all over Maine, the Stache Pag grows every year.

This year’s pageantry takes place on Friday at Empire Dine and Dance in Portland. Anyone with a shadow of hair over the lips can enter – including women. Entrants are divided into three categories, based on their individual mustache character:

n The Magnum P.I. – The natural or common mustache, it is a full, well-integrated friend of your face. Not too flamboyant, but certainly stating something in bold print.

n The Thigh Tickler – These ‘staches leap from the face, a la handlebar, Fu Manchu or Pancho Villa.

n The Uncle Rico – This category refers to mustaches belonging to men who, for reasons unclear, aren’t able to grow enough hair on their upper lip to enter either of the other two categories.

Stache Pag judges narrow the field to five finalists in each category, and the winner will be chosen based on audience applause. But this ain’t no lazy man’s game. Finalists work to win the crowd during segments like the “Stache Strut” and “Rapid-fire, Five-second Statue.”

Category winners – as well as a judges’ selection – will walk away with a Stache Pag trophy, a title and bragging rights for the year.

In the morning, many of the night’s mustaches will find themselves razored into the bathroom sink. But they’ll go with honor, having helped bring the modern man’s mustache one hair closer to its proper glory.

 

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 822-4056 or at:

[email protected]