Every other web site that one comes across seems to have a page of Frequently Asked Questions, so, not to be outdone, here are some FAQs about handlebar moustaches. Don't take these answers too seriously, though. As they say in a different context:-
"Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance. The size of your moustache can go down as well as up, and you may not get back the effort you have invested."
|Will a handlebar moustache suit me?|
|How should I set about growing a handlebar moustache?|
|How much time does it take to maintain a handlebar moustache|
|What sort of comb should I use on my moustache?|
|Should I use a moustache curler?|
|What is a moustache cup, and where can I acquire one?|
|What is a snood, and where can I acquire one?|
|Should I use moustache wax?|
|Is there a cheaper alternative to moustache wax?|
|Can I make my own moustache wax?|
|How do you apply moustache wax|
|What moustache wax do you recommend?|
If you have any questions that you frequently want to ask, or any comments about these answers, why not post a message on our Forum.
Or, if your question is related more to beards than moustaches, why not contact The British Beard Club?
You could post your query on their Members Forum, as well as on one or more of these other fora?
Certainly! Why not try one?
You may not appreciate it at first, but over time you'll find that it grows on you.
The problem for most of our members when trying to answer this question is that it is many years since we started to grow our moustaches, and we find it hard to remember how we went about it. I think that at first I only grew the hair on my upper lip, then as it started to get longer I let the "growing area" spread outwards! But it is entirely up to you. The important thing is that you should feel "comfortable" with the way it looks (even if the itchiness is a bit uncomfortable!)
The biggest decision will come when the hair in the centre of the lip starts to grow long and begins to get messy whenever you are drinking soup. At that point some people trim it to keep it short in the centre. However, if you can survive the messy stage (that is when the hair is starting to grow but isn't long enough to brush to the sides), it is worth letting it all grow so you can train the hair to grow out sideways in order to achieve a more traditional shape.
Similarly with the beard around the sides - it's a matter of choice. The perfect moustache grows only on the upper lip, but many of us allow it to spread to the sides in order to achieve a more "bushy" effect. If you find you can get a good growth of moustache on the lip alone, that is ideal, but if it looks better with a bit more "support" so to speak, then go for what you think looks best for you. When people see a group of members of the Handlebar Club they often remark on how all of our moustaches are different from each other.
At the "messy" stage you will probably need to use a little moustache wax to keep the hair in place.
P.S. Just a few days after I wrote this, I found that there was already a web page which answers this question. So if you want a second opinion (and rather more detail than I have given) try Mustache Summer '99
Longer than you expect! My family learnt a long time ago to keep out of my way when I am waxing my moustache after washing all the previous wax out of it. I tend to get quite grumpy when it won't go up in the way that I want it to. And shaving does take longer when you have to carefully go round a spreading moustache. Carelessness can ruin months of growth!
Some moustache waxes such as Pinaud "Clubman" come with a small comb, but these tend to be too small to be useful for a large moustache. You can of course get a suitable comb from a specialist supplier, but if you live in the United Kingdom I am told by Kevan Hanson (not yet a member of the Handlebar Club) that Boots the Chemists sell a suitable comb that is actually intended for removing head lice. It has very fine metal teeth that are rounded and he recommends it as working particularly well.
I didn't know anyone who used one, but this picture of an antique moustache curler was sent to me by Charlie Terenzio. As far as we know, the moustache curler was used in a similar way as a modern hair curler; i.e. it was heated up on the edge of a wood burning stove then used pretty quickly. It would be a real "find" to be able to see the instructions that came with it. If anyone has any further information we'd be interested to know.
Then I got an e-mail from a Club member who shall remain anonymous!
"I found a moustache curling iron in an Antique store in the town where I live. I tried it in the store but not with much success. At home I tried heating the iron under hot tap water and it did not work that well. So the other day I heated the iron on my gas stove and tried to curl the right side and it burned off the hair!! At least ½ inch or more and I had to trim the left side to match.; My Imperial moustache was 10 inches tip to tip!! OH NO!!!!!! And right before the competition too!!! I guess I will have to get used to life's disappoinments."
He subsequently talked to his Uncle Jack who told him that when he was younger, his mother and sister curled their hair. The proper way is to test the temperature of the iron by using one sheet of newspaper and if the paper turns brown it is too hot.
A LESSON LEARNED THE HARD WAY!!!
P.S. There was a happy ending to the story - in spite of the accident he won his class in the World Championships!
I have a moustache cup myself which is a splendid device, and at one time I used it a lot, especially for soup which can be extremely messy to drink. This cup has a special lip or rim on the inside with a hole through which one can drink, while one's moustache is kept clear of the liquid. But it is an antique - over 100 years old - and one day I almost broke it, so I decided to stop using it.
It is certainly possible, just occasionally, to find moustache cups in antique shops, so if you want a genuine old one we suggest that you start looking around such shops and perhaps you will be lucky. And I'm told that they are sometimes for sale via eBay (www.ebay.com) but try searching for a "mustache" cup or mug. Alternatively, for a modern reproduction, there is the Colonel Conk site. They sell moustache mugs (even including left-handed ones!) at www.col-conk.com/mugs.htm
My old "Concise Oxford Dictionary" defines a snood as a "fillet worn by maidens in Scotland to confine hair", but we would use the word to mean a device to keep the moustache in place when sleeping. There is a famous scene in Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot movie "Death on the Nile", from 1978 starring Peter Ustinov. In the scene in question, when Poirot is awakened during the night he appears wearing a snood.
The only place that I know of where they can be purchased is the STERN web site, where they are listed as Moustache bands.
© MMVII / MMVIII TED SEDMAN