Monday, December 14, 2009

Most Spectacular Moustaches

The moustache. Is there any better symbol of maleness? For better or for worse (you decide), in today's society it simply isn't acceptable for men to walk around with their penises in full display. In fact, it's been this way for quite some time. (Shocking, I know). So men have had to come up with another way to show how manly they are without scarring bystanders for life. They came up with that solution in the moustache.

It takes a certain kind of man to grow a moustache. One could argue that full beards or combinations like goatees are just as manly but I just can't agree. While I'm a guy who is very rarely clean-shaven I've always known better than to dare to sport a moustache. On those infrequent occasions that I do shave, I always leave my upper lip for the very end just so I can observe myself in moustache form for a few moments. It always makes for quite the hilarious sight. No, I've come to realize that I am just not man enough to pull off the 'stache. I'll just have to get by on my stellar record of street fighting and seducing women.

Selecting the ultimate examples of moustaches was no easy task; greats such as Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Ned Flanders, legions of porn stars from the seventies, um...Joseph Stalin and...others didn't make the cut. Truly, the road to moustache greatness is paved with the bones of those who dared to dream and fell short.

5. Tom Selleck

There are certainly moustaches out there with longer tenures than that of Selleck's but I would argue very few as powerful. Born of Slovakian immigrants, he staked a claim to manliness early on in life playing university basketball for a team called the TROJANS. Later, as a member of the California National Guard, he played a part in the quelling of the Watts Riots in 1965, a messy, violent affair that lasted six days, saw thirty-four deaths and nearly four thousand arrests. It would be the worst riot in California history until the riots of 1992 spurred by the Rodney King verdict. This conflict resulted in fifty-three deaths and thousands of arrests and injuries. And why was this riot more devastating than the Watts Riots? The answer is simple: Tom Selleck and his moustache weren't there to stop it.

As an actor, Selleck's moustache proved him to be so overwhelmingly macho that in 1980, despite a track record of truly shitty movies in the seventies, he was the first choice to play pulp hero Indiana Jones. Thankfully, his commitment to the tv show Magnum, P.I. kept him from accepting the role. Indy would go on to be a different sort of manly character which was really for the best and as Magnum, Selleck and his moustache would go on to fame taking another route. In movies throughout the eighties he would portray such manly characters as cops, baseball players and cowboys.

In the nineties, as a prominent member of the NRA, Selleck got into a fistfight with woman-man Rosie O'Donnell and narrowly escaped being devoured. Just like always, it wasn't guns that pulled him through, it was his moustache.

4. Hercule Poirot
Certainly a vast departure from that typical image of a manly moustache, the soup-strainer of the plucky little Belgian nonetheless has its own statement to make. Poirot represents a more cerebral sort of moustached man, employing his "little grey cells" to understand "the psychology" and solve mysteries, bringing murderers to justice.

Sadly I don't know if there has ever been an actor who could fully demonstrate the awesomeness of Poirot's moustache but as David Suchet was pretty much born to play the role, he wins by default. Actually, regarding the 1974 film version of Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie herself said she was mostly pleased with it except that she felt actor Albert Finney's moustache didn't quite measure up.

No one could ever accuse Hercule Poirot of being overly modest as he would often boast of his skills and expect his reputation to precede him wherever in the world he traveled but at least in the case of his moustache's own magnificence, he can hardly be faulted. He simply knew that his was one of the top in existence so he saw no need to be modest about it. He would often reference his moustache's perfection as well as constantly tend to it so that it always appeared flawless.

Poirot was always running up against retired Britsh military officers and members of Scotland Yard. These men were almost always tall and broad-shouldered and sporting manly moustaches. But it was the penguin-like Poirot who came out on top in the end and having the superior 'stache gave him the edge.


3. Hulk Hogan

Throughout the history of professional wrestling, there have been many who have come and gone. And of those many, there were many still who had to rely on flashy costumes, masks and tattoos to make themselves stand out. All Hulk Hogan needed was his moustache.

I ask you - could you even imagine him without it? Surely, without it, he could never have fought Rocky himself (against Vince MacMahon's wishes no less), hosted Saturday Night Live, caused a sensation known as "Hulkamania" and body slammed all 520 pounds of Andre the Giant to the mat.

Even when he underwent an image change as the villainous "Hollywood Hogan" in the NWO, he retained his moustache. Sampson had his long hair, Hogan has his handlebar 'stache. Only a manly man equipped with such a moustache could have come up with the genius macho practice of ripping his own shirt asunder. The fact is, Hogan's macho and manly achievements are almost too numerous to mention here so I will simply point out that the one remaining constant throughout it all was his moustache. No way that's a coincidence.

2. Super Mario
The greatest video game hero of all time by far. OF COURSE he has a moustache! How else could he have pulled it off? To date he has appeared in over two hundred games and he's working his mighty moustache in every single one.

I have absolutely no friggin' clue how Shigeru Miyomato came up with the idea that the main character in a game he was making in the early eighties should have been a short, roundish Italian plumber. But apparently it had something to do with wanting to portray him as an ordinary working-man type and someone remarked he looked more like a plumber than a carpenter (the original profession suggested for him). After that, I guess the rest wrote itself: a plumber could be in the sewers and...um, because of limited graphical capabilities at the time, it was decided to give him a moustache to avoid having to animate a mouth. Just as he was given a cap so they wouldn't have to deal with hair. Logically, this character should be Italian and called Mario (named after the owner of Nintendo's American warehouse). It makes so much sense!!

Anyway, Mario is one of the most popular and recognizable characters on the planet and his moustache is an integral part of him. I'm sure that when they decided to add his brother, Luigi, it was inconceivable to consider not also giving that jumping Italian plumber a moustache as well. And their activities, while often bizarre and fantastical to say the least, still usually come down to a simple, manly formula - braving extreme dangers to rescue some broad. From jumping barrels thrown by an ape to hurling fireballs at deranged turtles to somehow flying through the sky using a racoon tail, Mario did it all while wearing his trusty moustache.

1. Lanny McDonald
Should we really be surprised that the ultimate moustache belongs to a hockey player? I mean, really. McDonald's moustache is so epic and overwhelming that lesser moustaches actually burst into flame in his presence. The man once went out in the rain and was then able to fill a well for a parched African village using the water collected in his moustache. He's been known to offer shelter under it to those caught in thunder storms. If lighting hits McDonald's 'stache, it is immediately converted into cold fusion (this is the rumoured source of the power for his wrist shot).

After a career as prolific goal-scorer for the Medicine Hat Tigers in junior, McDonald was drafted fourth overall by the Leafs in 1973 and didn't disappoint once he reached the big league. After scoring 14 and 17 goals in his first two seasons respectively, he exploded for a four-season run of at least 37 goals, scoring over 43 in three of them, playing as Darryl Sittler's right winger. In 79/80 he was on his way to another forty goal season when he was traded to the god-awful Colorado Rockies. (I'll talk some more another time on this baffling trade and why it happened.)

He was a point-a-game player for the parts of three seasons he was in Colorado and that's really saying something considering just how terrible they were. He landed in Calgary during the 81/82 season, on his way to yet another forty goal campaign. He would play out the rest of his career as a Flame, becoming one of the most popular players in franchise history, retiring in storybook fashion scoring his 500th goal in his final season and captaining the Flames to their first, and to date only, Stanley Cup in 1989.

In 82/83, his first full season with the Flames, his moustache kicked into overdrive. That year he finished second in the league in goal scoring behind Wayne Gretzky with an amazing 66 goals. It also made for one of the more interesting statistical seasons in NHL history in that he only had 32 assists. Scoring seasons where a player has more goals than assists, especially when it's a significant number of goals, are rare. Seasons where a player scores more than twice as many goals as assists are almost unheard of. With 98 total points he set the record as the player to score the most goals without reaching the 100 point mark.

A two-time second team All Star, 500 career goal scorer, Stanley Cup champion and Hockey Hall of Fame member, McDonald is the most famous moustache in Canadian history. And although it has declined a bit with age, no longer the brilliant red it was in its prime, I'll dare to declare it as the most spectacular moustache in the entire world.

3 comments:

Brenda said...

Those are some good moustaches. And even better championing of the moustaches. I even chuckled. Out loud.

I must point out, though, that you typoed "penguin" in Poirot's blurb.

Cole D'Arc said...

i do not know to what you are referring

Shane Patenaude said...

Quite possibly your greatest list to date. I laughed, I cried, I cowered in fear at the might of the moustache.

I would call it a tour de force of upper lip hair humour.