Mustaches are like motorcycles – no matter who you are, having one instantly makes you more interesting. And deciding to grow some fierce lip fuzz is one of those great moments in the evolution of being a dad. But, much like buying a Harley, you have to know the product or else you’ll be stuck with something you don’t know how to control. Whether you want to grow a Bob Belcher-esque soup strainer, a tip-curled Dali, or a waxed Encore, here’s a rundown of some of the most dad-tastic lip carpets over the decades. If you’re already rocking a solid crumb catcher, you’ll probably find it on this list.
The Magnum (aka The Burt)
This mustache isn’t an accessory – it’s a lifestyle. It’s a true commitment to manliness. A dad with this type of lip rug eats steak. He builds things. He has no idea where Whole Foods is. At its most popular in the 70s and 80s, this mustache is so cherished, in fact, that in the early 1900s a special spoon was developed to shield it while eating soup.
Famous Practitioners: Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds, Richard Petty, Ned Flanders, Ron Swanson
Popularized by early European (mostly French) artists, this ‘stache doesn’t scream “macho” as much as it casually whispers “sophistication”. Precise grooming means that the dad bold enough to rock this style is rarely in a rush, and pays attention to detail. It’s sometimes also referred to as “The Dali” (the late surrealist was a famous adopter of the style) and recognized as a category in the World Beard and Mustache Championships. Dads who rock it probably have a lot of robes, firm opinions, and probably one of those long, thin Hunter S. Thompsonian cigarette holders.
Famous Practitioners: Sammy Davis Jr., Diego Velazquez, Errol Flynn
Okay, so, wow. Technically this mustache is a variation of the Fu Manchu, as it grows in a horseshoe shape from its origin point beneath the nose. First popularized in the 19th and early 20th-century Chinese culture, The Immortal has grown – literally – from its wispy heyday into full on facial foliage. It’s bushy, masculine, and perfect for any dad who rides a Harley, or has ever bodyslammed Andre the Giant.
Famous Practitioners: Hulk Hogan, Sam Elliot, Lemmy, Roadies
So named because of its association with rock stars, this was one of the first mustaches to be acceptable as a style for men younger than 30. Available in thick or thin styles, the Encore’s trademark is the edge growth onto the cheeks. If you’re rocking this badge of machismo, you’re a dad with ice water in his veins, unfazed by even the most potent of diapers.
Famous Practitioners: Lionel Richie, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Dave Grohl
The Foul Line
Also known as a “pencil mustache”, this style takes skill because it toes the fine line (get it?) between debonair cocktail party host and creep at Chuck E. Cheese. This style became popular in the 1940s and is characterized by a wide-shaven gap between the nose and mustache (which makes it look as though it were drawn on by a pencil). If you can pull off this style, well, you’re a man of patience and, likely, puny cheek-stubble growth. Or you’re John Waters.
Famous Practitioners: Clark Gable, Gomez Addams, John Waters, Tobias Funke, Sean Penn (eye roll)
Another traditionally hit or miss style, the Musketeer is characterized by a combination mustache/goatee/soul patch configuration. It makes sense that the somewhat ornate look dates back to the Elizabethan era, with some crediting King Charles I of England with its introduction. If you’re a dad with a full head of hair, then this sparsely coiffed style is perfect for balancing out your look — and letting everyone know you probably have a shelf of historical knick-knacks and multiple brands of lip wax.
Famous Practitioners: Zorro, Johnny Depp, French Revolutionaries
It’s big. It’s bushy. It’s curled. And it’s growth parameters are very specific. According to the World Beard and Mustache Championships, “there must be clean-shaven spaces of at least 4cm wide on the chin and between the facial hair and the onset of the head hair. The whiskers are styled upwards. No closed curls, and the hairs [must not rise past] the level of the eyes.” Make no mistake, this is a heavy duty ’stache that you’ll see in a lot of Civil War photos. Dads with Kaisers tend to have great stories — and a separate fridge just for beer … that sits beside a 2003 Shania Twain calendar.
Famous Practitioners: Rollie Fingers, The Monopoly Guy, Most Hipster Bartenders
Don’t confuse The Ron with The Magnum. Whereas The Magnum is usually associated with shootouts and crime solving, The Ron is more fun. Game show hosts, news anchors, scallywags, and adult industry icons round out the list of faces flaunting this specific stache – sometimes with a basic beard to add to the vibe. It’s actually a great first step for those dads just beginning to experiment with facial hair, as it has the heft of a Magnum, but little of the commitment.
Famous Practitioners: Ron Burgundy, Alex Trebek, Steve Harvey, The bad guy from Timecop (Ron Silver)
It’s like a Fu Manchu, but thicker, and an Immortal, but thinner. Get it? Think of this style as a droopy mustache, which is bushier and more laid back than a traditional horseshoe. This lip carpet was made famous by Mexican Revolutionary general Pancho Villa, and is worn today by dads who love freedom and want to look like they just finished robbing a steam engine. Get yer hands up!
Famous Practitioners: Jose Doroteo Arango Arambula (Pancho Villa’s birth name – hell yeah, Trivia Night!)