Operation: Mustache (A Social Experiment)

For three days, I had a mustache.  Life was different.

We as an American culture are quite familiar with movies where the protagonist disguises himself as something he’s not and is treated drastically different by society: 

In Tootsie (1982), a male actor in NYC pretends to be a Southern woman in order to get an acting gig on a soap opera.  In Soul Man (1986), a white guy pretends to be an African-American so he can get a college scholarship.  In Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), a San Francisco dad pretends to be an aged Scottish woman to spend more time with his kids after the divorce.  In I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), two straight firefighters pretend to be married homosexuals for the monetary benefits.

We recognize these situations as comedy.  After recently realizing on my own that men under the age of 40 (who are not cops) can not be taken seriously, I decided to prove my theory.  For 72 hours, I lived my life as a 28 year-old mustachioed man.  Here are the results.

At work, my male and female workers under 40 did nothing but crack jokes about my mustache and talked about what a creep I looked like: 

“I don’t think it’d be a good idea for you to go near a school with a bag of candy…”

 “Where’ s your Harley?”

 “When is your wife going to put her foot down about your mustache?”

“No offense, but you totally look like a pervert with that thing.”

 “Seriously, I can’t even look at you.  In fact, step away from me…  You’re kinda freaking me out!”

However, not surprisingly, the men in my office over 40 specifically and sincerely made a point to come up to me and tell me otherwise:

“Man, I like that mustache.  Looks good on you.”

 “How long did it take you to grow that?  I wish I could have one like that.”

Though I know nothing about babies, for some reason, they always like me.  Whenever I’m near a baby in public, I make funny faces at them and they always laugh.  But Tuesday night, I was standing in line at Blue Coast Burrito with my wife when I looked behind me and saw a mother holding a baby.  I did my usual thing.  The baby didn’t smile or laugh, instead, he looked confused.  His mother turned away from me. 

And lastly, at home, well, as my wife put it:  “I’m sorry, but I just can’t take you seriously with that thing.”  It really changed the dynamics.  She graciously let me do the mustache experiment, but was just as happy as I was to shave it off last night.

Based on my experiment, Operation: Mustache, a man under 40 can not be taken seriously.  I invite other qualified young men to participate in the same experiment, but I don’t recommend it.

Needless to say, I don’t plan to grow a mustache again until I’m at least 40.  Even then…

Read the prequel, Must Not Mustache  http://wp.me/pxqBU-D3

4 thoughts on “Operation: Mustache (A Social Experiment)

  1. I stumbled across your page while I was in the midst of roughly the same experiment. Although I my purpose was not the same, I encountered the same results. Many of your friend’s comments were, word for word, what I heard from mine. I’m not sure if this stigma can ever be overcome, which is a shame. I rather like my mustache, but as you say, I can’t be taken seriously.


    • Zak, yeah, it’s funny how the young man’s mustache is stigmatized. This fact that you and I have stumbled across is for the conspicuously clued in.


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