Mustache culture has lost its historical edge over the past few years as the peak-and-valley trend has taken on a new identity as a marketing gimmick. Thanks, hipsters! What was once a symbol of masculinity and maturity – if you could grow in your upper lip like you made puberty your bitch – is today plastered in cartoonish design across coffee mugs, shower curtains, and “ironic” T-shirts whose makers don’t know the meaning of the word. You can even make mustache ice cubes using pricey silicone trays – and that just makes us side-eye. Yet the real offense here is that nowadays every 20-something vegan penny-farthing rider who hand dips his own beeswax votives and reads the newspaper on a stick sports the style – without giving an iota of props to those who blazed the bushy trail before them. So, we’ll do it instead. Behold, 16 of pop culture’s most memorable Dalís, Banditos, Mistletoes and more to remind you of what it was like to once be a man (who wouldn’t migrate to El Sereno if it was the last place on Earth).
- Yosemite Sam
The only proper ginge on this list (even if he is animated), Bugs Bunny’s gun-slingin’ archenemy Yosemite Sam made his first official debut – walrus ’stache and fiery temper to boot – in the Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon short “Hare Trigger” in May 1945.
- Groucho Marx
Known for his quick wit and innuendo-laced patter, Groucho – one-fifth of the successful family comedy act the Marx Brothers – established his signature mustachioed character with greasepaint in the early 1920s before growing the real deal in his later career.
- Ned Flanders
Homer Simpson’s overly religious neighbor, Ned Flanders – with chipper catchphrases like “Okilly-dokilly!” and “Hey-Diddly-Ho!” – has only parted with his pushbroom a few times in the show’s 32-year history, once when Homer implied that people were mocking his facial hair behind his back and another to strike a deal with Homer to control his vulgarity.
- Steve Harvey
The man, the myth, the mustache. This Original King of Comedy is a 14-time NAACP Image Award winner, and his stint as host of “Family Feud” has raised the on-again-off-again game show to one of the most-watched on television.
- Sam Elliot
It’s no wonder that Elliot’s 45-plus-year acting career has seen its fair share of roles as a frontiersman. His horseshoe mustache and family heritage – one of his relatives fought in the Battle of the Alamo – make him well suited for Hollywood Westerns.
- Colin Farrell
A proponent of same-sex marriage equality in his native Ireland – he even penned an open letter supporting his gay brother Eamon for Ireland’s Sunday World magazine – Farrell proved that he’s a pro at giving mustache rides in his sex tape with model Nicole Narain.
- Albert Einstein
The German-born physicist, whose name is synonymous with science, gave grandpas everywhere license to live facially untamed with his own wild and unruly mustache.
- Idris Elba
Elba’s salt-and-pepper flavor-saver can go American gangster on our Pacific rim anytime.
- Lionel Richie
While much of the Middle East still has an awkward relationship with the U.S., Arab states, like Iraq, hold a torch for Richie and his long-tenured lip foliage. In 2006, ABC News’ John Berman reported that “Grown Iraqi men get misty-eyed by the mere mention of his name. ‘I love Lionel Richie,’ they say.”
- Charlie Chaplin
Chaplin’s toothbrush mustache, that today is synonymous with his name, came in handy during the rise of Hitler (who showed off a similar style), which the silent-era comedian used to his advantage to parody the dastardly dictator in the 1940s.
- Nick Offerman
Offerman stole our hearts as “Parks and Recreation”s sometimes-sentimental everyman Ron Swanson – whose lip toupée is among the best we’ve ever seen – but it was only when we discovered that he’s a grown-up teddy bear in real life (who’s married to gaycon Megan Mullally) that he earned a five-star rainbow rating.
- Frida Kahlo
Kahlo, whose revealing self-portraits effectively capture her physical and psychological suffering, had affairs with both men and women – and she didn’t shave for any of them.
- Clark Gable
Often referred to as the King of Hollywood, Gable is the epitome of what a leading man is supposed to be – complete with a smoldering gaze, come-hither smirk, and tightly trimmed tickler that frankly doesn’t give a damn.
- Salvador Dalí
Indicative of his flamboyant personality and grandiose behavior, Dalí’s mustache manipulations – he once fashioned it into an infinity symbol for a photo shoot – became a trademark of his appearance beginning in the 1920s. Influenced by 17th-century Spanish master painter Diego Velázquez, the surrealist’s delicate lip doily was voted in a British Movember poll as the most famous of all time, edging out Hulk Hogan’s handlebar by six percent.
- Freddie Mercury
There’s a laundry list of reasons to appreciate the genius that was Freddie Mercury, not the least of which was the time that he told an audience full of admiring, screaming fans that a lot of people hated his mustache – but he didn’t give a fuck. “It’s my mustache, and I’m gonna keep it!” he exclaimed before a crowd that only went wilder for the posthumous Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
- Tom Selleck
As private investigator Thomas Magnum on “Magnum, P.I.” in the 1980s; Dr. Richard Burke on “Friends” in the ’90s; casino owner A.J. Cooper on “Las Vegas” in the late 2000s; and police commissioner Frank Reagan (the role he currently plays on CBS’ “Blue Bloods”), Selleck has redefined each decade for the past 30 years how to rock a serious Chevron with class and panache. In fact, one of the only times you’ll see the sex symbol without his legendary mouth mirken is in “In & Out,” still one of mainstream Hollywood’s few attempts at a comedic “gay movie,” which in its day was widely noted for its 10-second kiss between the former California Army National Guard sergeant and co-star Kevin Kline.