• Kristen Cook / Arizona Daily Star
  • Nov 25, 2012

Mustaches - they're not just for faces anymore. Curled at the ends, thick, thin, no matter the 'stache style, they're all in. And recently, they've been popping up everywhere - on mugs, clothes, even phone cases.

You might call it a fanstachetic trend.

"It's a sign of youth, not taking things seriously," says Zach Schrank, a University of Arizona doctoral candidate in sociology who's also taught Soc 317, the sociology of pop culture.

A mustache - or mo, if you will - was originally a symbol of masculinity. "There is this idea that your upper lip is the weakest part of your body, so growing hair on the weakest part of your body projects power," Schrank says.

Which makes it all the funnier when wedding parties stick on fake mustaches for official photos or you see a baby sucking on a mustachioed pacifier.

The trend "is, at its heart, completely ironic," Schrank says.

And mustaches really do make fine decorations.

"It's just a fun thing to put on clothes and shoes," says Stephanie McIlroy, president of the University of Arizona Trend Fashion Club, a group of students interested in the industry.

While lip carpets may be a tongue-in-cheek trend most of the year, this month they're a sign of solidarity designed to raise awareness for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer. November becomes Movember and men are encouraged to grow mustaches and become "mo bros."

They're doing it at The Parish gastropub, 6453 N. Oracle Road. Staffers - even those who already sported 'staches - shaved 'em off at the beginning of the month for fresh growth while the women put on mustache shirts, says co-owner Steve Dunn, who normally sports facial hair. The restaurant hosted a Stache Bash last night that included an Ultimate Mo contest.

Of course, sprouting facial hair for the first time is not without dangers, Dunn warns.

"You never know if you're going to look like a creeper or not."

On StarNet: Check out all the mustached photos submitted at azstarnet.com/gallery

http://tucson.com/lifestyles/a-stash-of-staches/article_8d265010-6f53-5306-9232-922479cce831.html