Most young men wait for the day when they can finally grow a full-fledged patch of facial hair, but according to recent trends, the lone mustache is no longer ‘hip’ - unless, of course, you’re over 35.

“I still see quite a few guys with mustaches,” said Shelly Norman, owner of Shelly’s Fine Barbering. “They’re generally older - 35 and up.”

The mustache has been getting a bad wrap ever since “Magnum, P.I.” left prime time. According to a recent story by the Associated Press, the most famous, or infamous, mustache in the world now belongs to Saddam Hussein.

Tahlequah attorney Lawrence Langley is unfazed by fads, and has had his signature handlebar mustache for 28 years.

“Actually, I’ve worn a mustache for the past 40 years,” said Langley. “But I began waxing and curling it in its current fashion since 1978.”

Waxing? Curling? It sounds more like a morning regimen for the women.

“It takes a couple of minutes to get ready in the morning,” he said. “But it’s also a signature, a large part of my personality, so I don’t mind.”

Langley got the idea for his unique style back in the late 1960s.

“I was living in Oklahoma City at the time,” said Langley. “And there was this attorney who wore his mustache this way, and I thought, ‘what a good idea.’”

Langley uses his unique style as a means of identification.

“It comes in really handy when I have to meet with someone whom I’ve never seen before,” he said. “I just tell them, ‘look for the guy with the twisted white mustache,’ and I’ve never had a problem.”

Back in the day of “Top Gun” mustaches were considered brusque and manly when sported by young men. Today’s youth, more often than not, opt for a goatee or soul patch - the little patch of hair that grows just below the lower lip.

Christian Lipski, founder of mustachesummer.com, an international “mustache pride” project, takes issue with the younger generation in his article, “Commustache Mustafesto:”

“To the shock of millions, the mustache has found itself the target of great hatred and fear among younger generations (the so-called ‘Goatee Generation,’ or ‘Generation G’). These cretins think nothing of growing furry rings around their mouths (or worse, dating the goateed), and yet they scoff at those with mustaches, snorting that mustaches are ‘only for cops or homosexuals.’ This not only betrays their ignorance, it shows a lack of respect for the two segments of our society that have kept the mustache torch burning while the rest of this so-called society trembled in the horrible darkness. It's time to put an end to this, and the best way to do it is to celebrate the goodness that is Mustache.”

Norman has noticed the younger set sporting a new style of facial hair.

“I’ve noticed a lot of guys who are wearing beards with no mustaches at all,” said Norman. “You know, the kind of beards Mennonites grow? It must be some new trend.”

Jerry Horner, a Tahlequah Public Schools bus driver, who’s currently clean-shaven, admits he’s grown a mustache or two in his lifetime.

“At one time, I had a mustache and a goatee,” said Horner. “Just recently I thought about growing a full beard and mustache, so I asked the kids on the bus for their opinion and they were unanimously against the idea.”

So why do some men decide to grow facial hair? Horner equates it with a woman changing her hair color.

“I don’t know,” said Horner. “You just wake up one morning and feel like doing something different. That, and part me of me thinks I look kinda’ cool with a mustache.”

Eric Malka, owner of The Art of Shaving salons in New York, Miami and Las Vegas, voiced his dislike of facial hair in an interview with the AP.

“When you come down to it, it just doesn’t look hip, modern, fashionable or good - and I think that’s a recipe for staying away from any facial hair style,” said Malka.

Dr. John Yeutter, professor of accounting at Northeastern State University, has had his beard and mustache for about eight years now. Yeutter has found a unique purpose for facial hair, and uses it to express his school spirit.

“Sometimes [like at NSU basketball games], it [mustache] turns green,” said Yeutter.



‘Stache facts

When deciding upon the proper design for your mustache consider the following:

• Overall length of the mouth

• Size of the nose

• Size and fullness of the upper lip area

• Overall width of the cheeks

• Shape and width of the jaws and chin area

• Density of hair growth

• Facial hair color and texture

• Current mustache fashions and trends

Source: Karen Marie Shelton, Dec. 15, 2003, www.hairboutique.com.

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