The Albanian language has 27 different words to describe the shape of moustaches.
Do you think it looks fine to shave your beard and leave only a moustache? It was not men whom God created like that, but dogs and cats.
PETER THE GREAT (1672-1725)
Moustache Response Units
Policemen in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh are offered cash incentives (an extra 30 rupees a month, or about 40p) to grow a moustache, which their bosses believe makes them better equipped to carry out their duties.
It was the brainchild of the Jhabua district police chief, who noticed the positive effect that moustachioed policemen had on the public at a local event in 2004. But they don’t want to take things too far; authorities are keeping a watch on the shape of officer’s moustaches so they don’t become intimidating.
The police chief, Mayank Jain, said: ‘Moustaches are improving the personalities of our constables. They are acquiring an aura of their own. They are creating a positive impression on the local people and getting a lot of respect.’
In general, the only members of the UK armed forces who can wear a full beard are the Royal Navy. A sailor who wants to do so must submit a form requesting’permission to stop shaving’. He is then allowed up to two weeks to’grow a full set’. At this point he must present himself to the Master at Arms (the senior Service policeman in any ship or unit) who will decide if his beard looks stupid or is respectably full enough to be permitted.
The Royal Marines, although part of the Navy, follow the Army rule, which is that you can grow a moustache but not a beard. In fact, from the 1860s the Queen’s Regulations for the Army forbade men of all ranks from shaving their upper lips, forcing them to wear moustaches. As a matter of discipline, individual incidents of moustache disobedience would be dealt with by the commanding officer but deliberate defiance could result in imprisonment.
This rule was abolished during the First World War by Sir Nevil Macready who was the first to take advantage, having intensely disliked his own moustache.
Disneyland employees used to be banned from sporting beards or moustaches.
The Indian Moustache
Traditionally moustaches were seen as a sign of virility in India and they still feature prominently, though there is a marked north-south divide among the urban youth. In the north they have slowly gone out of fashion, mirrored by trends in Bollywood and among the national cricket team. In the south, however, roughly 8 out of 10 men wear a moustache, matched by every onscreen male in the Tamil film industry, whether hero or villain.
Moustaches remain a religious obligation for practising Sikhs under the rules of’Kesh’ (uncut hair), while doormen at luxury hotels in India are bound by a different but apparently equally strong code.
The world’s longest moustache measures 14 feet (4.2 metres) and belongs to an Indian man called Ram Singh Chauman. It is enough of an attraction to earn him a living. He charges modelling fees, has starred in Bollywood films and even had a cameo in the Bond film Octopussy.
Walruses have such sensitive moustaches they can use them to distinguish between objects smaller than a 5p piece.
In 1991 a marathon runner was disqualified for swapping places with his trainer. The lack of a moustache gave him away.
The Brown Huntsman spider has a luminous white moustache that attracts moths (which it then eats).
Never put anything on paper, my boy, and never trust a man with a small black moustache.
P. G. WODEHOUSE (1881-1975)
A moustache cup was a nineteenth century tea-cup, invented by Harvey Adams. It has a slit ledge projecting from the front side of the rim, allowing the tea to flow through while a gentleman’s moustache remains dry resting on the top lip.
Four months after conception human foetuses grow tiny moustaches.
In Bombay it was once a capital offence to paint a moustache on a sleeping woman.
Burt Reynolds’s iconic moustache has about 4,000 Facebook fans.
The Leucauge mariana female spider prefers to mate with a male with a hairy mouth. If a male tickles a female with his facial hair whilst mating she is more likely to carry on and to produce a’genital plug’ that stops other rival spiders being able to mate with her.
When scientists shaved the male spiders, removing their facial hair, female spiders lost interest in mating with them.
A man without a moustache is like a cup of tea without sugar.
The fabulously named Emei Moustache Toad (Leptobrachium boringii) grows a moustache made of 10 – 16 sharp keratin spines – known as’nuptial spikes’ – along its upper lip, which it uses as a weapon.
Each mating season the toad, which lives in China, buffs up its forearms to aid in combat and in mating (the strong forelimbs help the male grasp the female), claims a rock in fast-flowing water, and spends weeks swimming around it, grunting to attract females. Rivals approach and the males fight underwater using face butts to the belly to puncture their enemies with their moustache of spines. 90% of males are injured. Sometimes the spines fall off in combat but they’ll sprout again, only to fall off at the end of the breeding season. A male left without a rock can’t breed.
Once a female lays her eggs on a rock, she leaves, allowing the male to fertilise them and, unusually for toads, look after them as they hatch. Sometimes another male will fight for the rock at this stage, and if he wins, will fertilise whatever eggs are left. He doesn’t kill the former male’s eggs, a stratagem which is thought to protect him against counter-attack from the rival. Either way, as a toad cares for the eggs, his moustache drops off, and after the eggs hatch, he goes back to his quiet, solitary (clean-shaven) life.
The artist Frida Kahlo adamantly refused to remove her trademark moustache, often using a pencil to make it darker.
The Ainu people of Japan traditionally tattooed moustaches on their daughters by rubbing soot into small knife cuts.
The Navajo name for Adolf Hitler was’he who smells his moustache’.