I’ve never been able to grow a respectable mustache. I’ve had a beard at various stages of life, most prominently during my long-haired college days, but the mustache by itself has always been thin and scraggly.

So maybe I have mustache envy. And maybe that played a role, however subconsciously, in the decision to put the annual Stache Pag on the cover of this week’s GO.

But even if that was the case, c’mon — what could be more fun than a pageant celebrating male facial hair? Especially when it’s got a film festival to boot?

According to Stache Pag founder Nick Callanan, the event serves a multifaceted function, one of which is an apolitical message that people of the world aren’t that different from each other. That by having a common trait — a mustache — they can teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, to hold it in their arms and keep it company.

I won’t go that far, but I do agree with him that the mustache has been maligned for far too long. From the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone without at least a good set of muttonchops — just look at the portraits of our presidents from Lincoln to Taft.

Having facial hair was not only socially acceptable, it was almost required if you were going to hold a high public office. Before you hit the campaign trail, you’d better make sure you had a good set of whiskers forming on your chin.

But sometime around World War I, facial hair went out of favor. By the 1960s, you were considered a hippie at best and a communist at worst if you didn’t shave at least once a day.

And although there have been brief periods where it’s been socially acceptable to grow a bushy ‘stache outside the realms of rock bands and the porn industry (think Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck), they have been few and far between. Even in Maine, you’re more likely to see a full beard than a mustache on its lonesome.

The Stache Pag and its companion event, the International Moustache Film Festival, aim to change that. Or at least bring like-minded people together to celebrate their hairy mugs with pride while raising money for charity.

You can read all about the events on pages 14 and 27, and watch a video of contestants. Those with mustaches are welcome to compete for a small fee, and those without — like me — are welcome to watch, cheer and encourage the contestants for an even smaller fee.

And maybe assuage some of that mustache envy.

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or at [email protected]

Twitter: RHarmonPPH


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