In the playoffs last spring, several hockey teams grew mustaches as a team-bonding exercise -- the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, the AHL Toronto Marlies and the Chicago Wolves.
(You can see why Valabik's nickname Borat is quite fitting.)
The wearing of the mustache was done tongue in cheek. And lately mustaches have been uncool enough to be considered punishment. Larry Bird threatened to make his NBA Pacers wear blond mustaches and short shorts if they didn't make the playoffs. Among the Chicago Wolves players, the punishment for losing a shootout contest in practice this year is to grow a mustache for a month.
But if you pay attention to New York City and Hollywood, which is where most of the nation's trends come from, there's a serious mustache trend brewing. It started out being ironic, but seems to be cementing itself.
Brad Pitt wore a mustache out and about in November. People Magazine quoted him as saying,
"It's fashion. Who am I without creative facial hair?"
The two-time 'Sexiest Man Alive' was donning the moustache for his role in the Quentin Tarantino movie, Inglourious Basterds in which he plays a WWII soldier, but Pitt embraced the hair as a statement.
And just this week, Entertainment Weekly declared in their year-end edition that mustaches were in for 2009, while soul patches were out, and sideburns were five minutes ago.
Artie Kulda saw himself as a mustache victim when he lost the Wolves shootout competition on Nov. 22. Here's his growth near the end.
But if staches are on the comeback, is being forced to grow one a punishment or a push towards hep cat-ness?
In early 2008, some visionaries were already heralding the comeback of the serious mustache, but much like man skirts, it was too soon. Now, with political and economic change in the air, the time is ripe. Liberals don more mustaches, and they are about to take the executive branch. Indeed, the serious mustache will be an international trend.
Maybe it won't be until 2010 or even 2011, but in the next few years, the younger, fashionable British gent will begin to wear the moustache in cold blood. Not as a statement and not as a bet. Just as a thing he wants on his face.
The lip service is over, let the face-scaping begin. And while we're at it, we need a cooler name for the thing. They call it a "mo" in Australia because they spell it the British way, moustache. That'll do nicely.
A few weeks ago, an ill-informed 24-year-old David Backes made fun of the famously mustachioed 29-year-old George Parros.
"I can't really look at the guy," Backes told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "No one has a mustache anymore and he's got this caterpillar on his top lip."
Get with it, Backes. The cool cats have 'em.
Right now it's a hipster thing to have a mo, but soon it will be mainstream. And then will begin mustache envy by those who can't properly grow one.
And what say the ladies? The ones who have to look at and kiss these things? Blackhawks draft pick Kyle Beach said of his early-season accidental turned team-bonding mustache:
"Girls love it. That's really all that matters."
So dig out those Magnum PI reruns. Work on your "hey baby." It's a good time to be follicly-endowed.