I have never seen my father without a mustache, except in a few baby photos and in one where he’s part of a human pyramid during the Vietnam War when he (luckily) was stationed in Germany. But when I met him for the first time as he picked up my mom for a blind date (and I thought he was blind), when he gave me a giant stuffed bunny for Easter when I was 7, when he taught me how to ride a two-wheeler, he always had a mustache.
He also had one wile looking at me sternly when, after returning from my requisite European backpacking trip in college, I unwisely began describing the coffee shops in Amsterdam (I truncated that story), and when he took the train across the country with my airplane-fearing mother for my wedding in California. I can’t imagine him without it.
I suppose that’s why a certain type of mustache always reminds me of my dad. Here we are at my wedding (don’t ask me what I was thinking with that half-up hair). It’s the type of full but groomed mustache that exudes charm and a bit of humor. A man with this type of mustache can be serious at times, but he is also capable of a self deprecating laugh and tells a good dad joke.
Albert Einstein’s smart guy ‘stache falls into this category, because look at that face.
Some mustaches hint at the friendly dad version, but fall into a different category. The Clark Gable mustache, for example, is for handsome and intimidating men who do not laugh at themselves, ever. And you’d better not, either.
There is also the Freddie Mercury sexy gay man mustache, which CAN be paternal, depending on the situation.
Then there’s the disturbingly handsome Daniel-Day Lewis as Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York. He falls in some singularly terrifying category.