Sunday 21 January 2018

Paul Galvin: Keep it under your nose

As Movember draws to an end, Paul Galvin pays homage to the humble moustache

Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali
New Defence Minister Willie O' Dea gestures towards Leinster House, after the Taoiseach announced his Cabinet re-shuffle in 2004. Photo: AP

Paul Galvin

There's something memorable about moustaches. When I was young a lot of the men on my road had one. My uncle had one. He used to comb his hair, then comb his tache before going out.

My best friend's dad, and all his uncles on that side, had taches too. They wore them like badges of honour. There is something honourable about men with moustaches.

An older man over the road from me smoked so much Woodbine that the hair on his tache under his nostrils turned yellow.

I watched Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris' lately. The Roaring Twenties was a high time for fashion. Women began to liberate themselves from constricting corsets and wore more dresses and short skirts. Men moved away from suiting towards more relaxed sportswear.

The film was full of colourful characters, famous historical figures, artists, writers and great fashion, but the most memorable scene for me featured a man with a moustache.

Adrien Brody's cameo as Salvador Dali was brilliant. Sharp and eccentric and full of vim. Apparently, Dali said, "Every morning upon awakening I experience a supreme pleasure, that of being Salvador Dali." How utterly brilliant.

You can tell a lot about a man by his tache. Rollie Fingers was a baseball player with a playful handlebar moustache, and we're all familiar with Charlie Chaplin's comic toothbrush style.

Tom Sellecks' tache looks warm and friendly like the man himself. Though quite what Badamsinh Juwansinh Gurjar's 12.5ft-long effort he grew over 12 years says about him, I'm not entirely sure. That he's bored? That he's boring? That he has scabby knees from tripping over it all the time?

The Indian entered the 'Guinness Book of Records' for possessing the world's longest moustache.

The story of the moustache is an interesting one and top-lip-cal too, given that Movember is drawing to a close -- the month that brings awareness to men's health and hairiness to men's melts.

Melt is a Kerry word for face. I used it because it rhymes with health.

So what of the tache and fashion? It's never been something you would associate with the ice-cool world of fashion. Beards, yes; stubble, definitely; goatees, maybe; moustaches, no. Until now.

Now all the cool kids have facial fuzz. And now the two have found a common ground at Project 51 on South William Street. Fashion has puckered up for a kiss on the hairy lips.

It's all about the men this month in store, where 10pc of all purchases made by a man sporting a tache goes to the Movember prostate cancer charity.

Novel and noble.

Designer goods include Eily O' Connell's organically shaped cufflinks, Heather Finn's cashmere scarves, Dingle shirts, Caoimhe Keane's luxury suits, and Ana Faye's manbags -- among many others -- are available.

Many of the designers are present, too, at given stages.

Edmund McNulty's knitwear is available. His merino, mohair and alpaca knits are not only very contemporary and stylish but also the colours are inspired by the sea and the Irish coastline, making each piece -- from hoodies to snoods to jumpers -- eminently wearable for Irishmen.

Kilkenny milliner Martha Lynn's trilbies are also on offer. They are so finely crafted and looked so well on my head that I'm sorely tempted to purchase one for Christmas.

Tutty's handmade shoes are visuals of the handcrafting process, which is something to behold. The attention to detail on each shoe is something worth seeing.

Members of the Irish fashion community are wonderfully supportive of each other and should be supported in kind.

I'm proud to say I have made my 10pc contribution to charity by buying an Ed McNulty handbrushed mohair sweater. I'm even more proud that my beautiful moustache has finally received the recognition it deserves. It only took me 25 years to grow it in the first place.

I was asked to be part of the Movember movement. I considered it until I checked and saw I already had one, and you can't grow two.

Being a child of Movember, I'm acutely aware of the responsibility I carry as a Mo'Bro. I've been wearing one for years.

Not a lot of people know this, but the word itself means one born with the ability to grow a moustache. Therefore, I count myself among the lucky few.

Life is funny. Some men shave to remove facial hair, some men (such as me) couldn't bear to be without it.

I last shaved about three years ago and could hardly look in the mirror until it grew back. I bore a scary resemblance to the 18-year-old me.

Then you have men who would love a tache, but can't grow one. I was one of those men for many years. I was convinced I'd never own one.

Alas, there is hope. You can buy fake moustaches from Project 51. Who would have thought it? All that despair men suffered in the fear that they would never know the simple pleasure of owning a moustache, for nothing.

Well fear no more, we have the answer. Fake moustaches. The solution to the problem. It was right there under our noses all along.

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