Gentlemen: present your stashes!
The New York Times ran a trend piece Thursday about the growing ubiquity of mustaches, and what they say about their wearers. Unsurprisingly, the mustaches’ unique place in gay and queer culture is a focal point of the article.
It’s probably not a coincidence the story was published on the first day of Pride Month. The perfect timing has propelled Twitter Gays™ to show off their stashes–in salute of Pride, and themselves!
As the NYT article highlights, mustaches have represented everything from masculinity, irony, power and subversion over the last century. Theodore Roosevelt’s bushy stash was a central part of his commanding, presidential presence. Up until 1916, British soldiers were even prevented from shaving their upper lips, because of the facial hair’s association with strength.
A couple of decades later, however, the mustache became associated with pure evil. Adolf Hitler’s thick, toothbrush stash defined his style, rendering the look extinct.
Then the mustache started to reappear on the outer edges of various counterculture movements, and that’s when the gays started to adopt the stash–for playful and sexualized purposes.
Christopher Oldstone-Moore, an expert on gender, masculinity and hair (sounds like a pretty cool job), told New York in a 2019 article that mustaches were viewed as “a form of rebellion against authority, particularly military masculinity.”
As more mainstream, masculine actors adopted stashes in the 70s and 80s–think Burt Reynolds–their place in gay culture only grew. It became associated with sexual deviancy, thanks to its adoption by pornographic actors and the “Castro clones.”
Speaking of San Francisco, Harvey Milk’s mustache helped define his aura, and era. As the New Yorker puts it, “Mustaches were clipped, and there wasn’t a beard or a ponytail to be seen anywhere” around Castro Street in the 80s.
But of course, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury’s stash was the most iconic of his era–if not all-time.
“I always smile when I channel Freddie Mercury successfully,” said a source in the aforementioned New York piece. “Growing up, I didn’t have too many bisexual men to look up to, and he was always it.”
It’s fair to say that mustaches are the most versatile type of facial hair around. They represent both authority and degeneracy, and can be viewed differently depending on how they’re presented.
That’s part of the charm.
“It’s very masculine, but it’s also very flamboyant and quietly sort of queer-coded,” a Brooklyn-based English teacher told the NYT. “The entire gender spectrum is obsessed with my mustache, as am I.”
As are we! Since the late 2010s, mustaches have been prevalent in seemingly every corner of gay culture. The proof is in the pictures.
Scroll down for more gays proudly showing off their awesome stashes…