Monday, 6 December 2010


I am starting this with a warning *rant alert* that I may be about to be unkind to a minority. I am about to be elitist, non-inclusive and down right prejudiced but I am afraid I just cannot help myself. It is just that I hate fake moustaches.
Most ladies cannot grow moustaches so fakery is unavoidable.
There is generally a smattering of them at Chap magazine events. Fortunately a minority. The splendid in many ways Night of a Thousand Waistcoats Chap Anarcho Ball last weekend again saw an outbreak of this irritant. It is not that I have a problem with artifice. For example uniforms. An army brat myself I don't object to people wearing reproduction army uniforms, it is a form of homage, looks rather smart and most young chaps after all have not had the opportunity to fight in the Napoleonic wars or fly Spitfires.  And one cannot assume that the chap in uniform would not volunteer should the need arise. Medals I would object to but even then if they belonged to grandad, it is good they get an airing and their stories get told.    The small number of nylon faux flapper costumes that always appear are kind of cute.  However the line has to be drawn somewhere and I am drawing it above the upper lip, in an unnatural shade of brown.

The offending articles.
I loathe that habit of wearing fake moustaches. I mean, FFS, it is not as if they are difficult to grow. All men can produce one of their own, they don't cost any money and there is, in this writer's opinion few things finer on a gent than some some well tended facial topiary. But no. A small minority think that if they sling on an ill fitting tweed jacket, wear a hat, glue a gruesome bit of scratchy nylon on their phyzzogs and hurl themselves around yelling 'I say', 'What ho!' and 'Old Chap' they are the bees knees. It is very undergraduate, really annoying, deeply unattractive and irritates the bejesus out of me.  If they are interested enough to fork out for a ticket they can surely avoid a shave for a fortnight. They irritate me more than rahs, although I suspect a bit of crossover there.
Puppies look perfectly charming with moustaches.

To qualify this, I don't mind completely insane fakery such as the mad huge black fake beard a chap wore last year. It was inconvenient, original and made him look quite insane: all commendable. Or the Olympiad Champion, a Victorian strong man whom I know in his day job is not shy of facial hair.  But the popular variety seems to be the cheap joke shop type, not even the thespian variety which at least display a little effort.  But what is behind this reluctance to grow a moustache? Is it the fear of being individual, thought eccentric or facing ridicule? The ability to face all of these things is admirable, but if an individual is worried, nervous or sadly does not have the features to suit a tache he needn't have one.  And he needn't have a fake bloody moustache... there are other options such as side burns after all. Additionally as 'Movember' has just finished the grower of a temporary face embellishment can blame it on philanthropic motivations, in fact the cad could go just go around demanding 'donations' and never have to pay for a drink all night.

The other, not entirely generous element to my disdain for the counterfeit moustache is that it reeks of fancy dress, stag night high jinks and rag collections.  At a party full of devoted dandys, chaps, wastrels and stylish flotsam why would you do that? Because you are a tosser thats why.  The only fake moustache that looked good was one that was removed and placed by someone on the delicious Jenni's back. The original owner obviously thought better of his faux pas and had started to allow his inner bounder to escape!  What about you? Do you share my urge to pull fake moustaches off or am I being harsh! Because at Chap events I really hate 'em! I'm thinking of putting on a cape and a mask and becoming the Tache Avenger!


Lisa said...

Ooh, I saw some horrid ones on Saturday night too, a brown haired chap with a grey 'stache.

At least when my friends used to do drag king stuff on the gay scene they'd use some facial glue and their own hair and make something a bit more realistic.

Yesterday Girl said...

At the Candlelight Club a group of young fools went up to a chap with a rather lovely 'tache and said 'is that real? Let me shake your hand' Bunch of arses. Why are you shaking his hand because he has hair, you have hair!

Penny Dreadful Vintage said...

I'm afraid I can't forgive the nylon flapper outfits either - when you have been given free rein to be as creative as you like, what a boring cop-out to dress in a fancy dress outfit straight from the shelves of Tesco. (That isn't to say no flapper outfits are any good, because some of them were fab. Also, I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you and your holey stockings).

Unknown said...

Though I'm not one of them (I have a full beard) - there are plenty of jobs that completely preclude facial hair and after all, everything about 'the scene' should hopefully be in the name of fun.

Same goes for the cheap costumes that Penny denigrates above. For some people, dressing a certain way is their main hobby- others have less time to devote to the hours it takes finding and procuring appropriate dress. Do you really begrudge them their night out too?

As long as people conduct themselves with decorum, I suggest welcoming any level of effort people choose to make.

Anyway- hope you're still having fun up there on that high horse.

Bruce Partington-Plans said...

The last time I grew a 'tasche I actually encountered the same problem Lisa mentions - in my case the ginger-hairedness from my father's side, whilst not present on my head, came out something chronic in the old soup-strainer.

The disparity meant I ended up looking like I was wearing a false 'un ("Do you take it off when you go to bed?", was one of the many jokes), so I got rid of it and resigned myself to the fact that moustaches were not for me. I would never wear a stick-on, though.

Minn's right, some chap's faces just don't suit a lip weasel, but that is indeed no excuse to go about wearing a fake one - there are other ways to make an hirsute statement.

Sue George said...

I am a bit baffled as to why some people think fake moustache = chap. If there were drag kings there on Saturday, then I would certainly have been happy for them to wear fake moustaches, but that is quite different. Men: you don't need facial hair to be a chap!
Surely chappism is about creativity, thought, making an effort, dandyism - whatever that means to you. It doesn't mean facial hair or "fancy dress". Mind you, some of the "fancy dress" was kind of fun - like the girl in the ballet tutu and her WW1 officer consort.

Unknown said...

It was the chap with the grey 'tache and the brown hair that annoyed me at the event too. You know I am fully in agreement! See comments about afro wigs at VAG as well.

To the chap having a moan (what is it with people today?). High horse indeed. We all at the Chap just have a phobia of people with no taste, and grey nylon taches on men are the absolute epitome of bad taste. I also do not accept your argument. You have to dedicate time to sourcing and buying a fake tache, which will do nothing but make you look like a total knob. Why not just not bother?

Unknown said...

Something just suddenly came back to me! It was my back the tache got stuck on! Or mine as well... I think I was talking to you when a girl tapped me and said, 'did you know you have a moustache on your back?'

Get it orf!

RedlegsinSoho said...

RJ thanks for posting, I am happy to be disagreed with, most of the time I am too drunk to be on a high horse but if I got on one I would prefer to be looking down from a great height, I'd look like a Thelwell cartoon on a low pony.

I realise some cannot grow taches for a number of reasons and fake moustaches are fine for fancy dress or costume balls. But this was not one. It's a bit like wearing a nylon silver Elvis costume to a fifties weekender, quite funny if one person does it, really annoying and faintly offensive to other attendees if 40 people turn up doing it. If you have a moustache do you really want to party with fifty people turning up in comedy ones? How about thirty people going to a soul themed party blacked up. It is not a case of the old fashioned door dragon 'you aren't good enough' arrogance or having a vicious dress code, it is just not having people vaguely taking the piss out of you and your inclinations at an event, even if this is not their intention.

Alas as I would get arrested if I didn't wear clothes so I cannot describe wearing them as a hobby, I certainly am not going to work and making my way around the city in hobby clothes or fancy dress. Although sometimes it occurs to me that an adult version of a babygro might be practical.



RedlegsinSoho said...

Was it you Fleur? well moustaches on the back do at least have a certain surrealist flair..x

Vintage Scans said...

Nitwits, the lot of 'em. If you haven't got the balls and patience to grow a proper moustache then you probably shouldn't be allowed out to play with the adults. Same goes for the off-the-shelf fancy-dress crowd.
Some burly doormen with an eye for sartorial brilliance would be good. Failing that, all people admitted to an event must leap through a flaming ring of fire and all man-made fibres would thus be instantly reduced to an acrid whisp of ridicule. Oh, that wouldn't be good for stockinged vixens..erm..I'll think of some other filter.

Lauren said...

I absolutely agree. I was at a 40s party on Saturday too and there were lots of terrible fakers there too. Sad as most people had made a real effort - even if they weren't in authentic 40s getup, they'd done their best with what they had and the fancy dress was just a bit distasteful.
On the other hand, there were a handful of young men in their early 20s with real ‘taches setting me quite a-flutter in their RAF blue. I'm quite keen on this resurgence of the moustache and I may try to look on the stick-ons as an unfortunate by-product.

Straight Talking Mama! said...

I'm afraid I'm not a fan of the 'tache, just wanted to get that out of the way first!

But fake 'tache why bother?!! Silly people, I try so hard not to be elitist or vintage snob like or all of those things we are often accused of but when someone is basically taking the pee out of who we are or what we wear, then I'm sorry I am a snob *hehe I wrote snog at first*

It's like someone coming to one of the 50s things I go to and wearing a cheap fake satin poodle circle skirt :o(

I don't even know if I've made sense here I just ranted when in fact I should be working eeek

Helen Highwater said...

Love this entry. I went to my first Chap event (as you know) on Saturday, having read it on and off since issue 3 in 1999.

It seems that there are several different interpretations of The Chap. Clearly, even The Chap is slightly tongue in cheek (which is why I liked it - all the trouser semaphore and comic strips about Moroccan house boys in the early issues. The snuff films with the men snorting snuff off shapely thighs!!! Hahahahh!), but there are people who see it purely as some kind of... wtf... comedy nostalgia thing?

I felt a bit bad whinging about the fake tashes on Twitter after the ball (I was in a bad mood on Saturday anyway, in case you were wondering - hence my complete inability to be sociable!). I mean... they're having a good time, they're enjoying themselves and having FUN! FUN! FUN! FUN! FUN! I shouldn't begrudge people that! But....


...the fake tashes are annoying. If you're wearing a joke shop tash, you're clearly in the Chap-as-comedy crowd. It doesn't occur to them that for some people it's not all entirely merry japes, it's actually how some people dress day in, day out. They don't realise that, as such, by wearing a fake tash they're, shall we say, extracting the Michael, whether they mean to or not. Like Fiona says,

It's like someone coming to one of the 50s things I go to and wearing a cheap fake satin poodle circle skirt

Or your example with the Elvis costume. Or someone going to a mod do wearing a joke shop Beatles wig ("I'm a mocker", as Ringo said).

Aside from fake tashes, there were a couple of people waving canes in the air for the entire duration of Mister B. The Gentleman Rhymer's set. Maybe do it to a couple of songs and we'll have a laugh - "ho ho, what a jocular wag! Canes in the air, boys" - but don't do it for an hour, especially with no consideration for anyone standing near you. There were people ducking out of the way, fearing for the safety of their bonces! Whatever happened to the Chappist creed of Random Acts of Courtesy?

Also - and this was quite scary - please, people, it's not a crime to wash/dry clean your vintage! It is a crime to turn up smelling of mothballs and someone else's BO! One should smell of the finest cologne! Or at least, something that smells like the finest cologne and is available on your budget. The great unwashed are rather pongy - a chap should aspire to more fragrant heights, I'm sure you'll agree.

Unknown said...

Hahahahaha: "all people admitted to an event must leap through a flaming ring of fire and all man-made fibres would thus be instantly reduced to an acrid whisp of ridicule" - sheer genius!

Andi B. Goode said...

This is actually quite strange to me - there really isn't a vintage scene here (and if there is, I certainly haven't found it!) so when I go to anything vaguely vintage themed I'm quite often one of a very, very few in anything vintage-esque. (Was at a Big Band night and some women had those satin poodle skirts Fiona mentioned on. *cry* But there are rock 'n' roll clubs here who wear them out often *shudder* Another time I was at a vintage fashion fair and some women thought I was in 'costume' for the event =\). ANYway, I can definitely understand this (though, as has been pointed out and you yourself agreed in a comment, some men can't grow a moustache...but surely no moustache is better than a tacky fake one? Depending on where you are but even I who live on the other side of the world can tell that it's not at all the sort of place for that sort of thing. Maybe some kind of silly costume party...

I would love to say that maybe those who wear fake moustaches and tacky flapper outfits just need someone to educate them...but at the end of the day, some people just don't care and some will always take the piss. And it's annoying to have your lifestyle reduced to that (and also to be reduced to a 'hobby' - just like being a punk or a skater, etc. is a hobby, I suppose?). So, I suppose what I'm saying is I both understand and agree.

-Andi x

Helen Highwater said...

I have to say, I was... erm... intrigued by the fancy dress flapper outfits. Didn't they see my advert in The Chap???? There are very nice repro dresses about, ladies! I sell them!!!

LandGirl1980 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LandGirl1980 said...

I am an idiot who cannot spell - hence the deletion of my 1st comment.

Having not attended anything Chap run - I cannot comment. Although I am sure I agree whole heartedly.

I just wanted to say that the "Everytime you shave, God kills a kitten" made me spit my soup out with laughter. Attractive is my middle name.

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LollyWillowes said...

I love your comments, like the late and great Saki, so elegantly waspish! That is a compliment by the way, coming from someone who was born with an enormous amount of "old bagishness," already built in.

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