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"...like the SAS commander, who has the sort of absurd facial hair that indeed would have given him a proud military bearing circa 1915, but nowadays just makes him look like a German porn star."
Yahtzee, on Call of Duty 4's Captain Price.

A style of facial hair that resembles the classic "handlebar mustache", but is thicker and bushier on top, with no other facial hair underneath. Often used to (at least in the wearer's intentions) indicate a guy's "rugged" or "manly" nature.

This trope has a Fashion Dissonance problem. For most of the 70s and early 80s, it was considered authoritarian and MANLY, and associated with cops, military men[1], and sex symbols like Burt Reynolds. But an increasing association with porn stars, along with a general decline in popularity, makes it difficult for modern viewers to take such characters seriously.

Not to be confused with a Porn Stash. If you try hiding your stash in your 'stache, it will hurt like the dickens, unless your 'stache is truly badass.

Examples of Porn Stache include:


Anime & Manga


Advertising

  • The original Brawny paper towel logo guy.
  • The Man Your Man Could Smell Like in the Old Spice commercials. It peels off, but the bare skin underneath it can also peel off to reveal another mustache. It is not shown, but presumably that one can also peel off; its not clear how many layers he's got.
  • This commercial for a Datsun 10th Anniversary 280XZ "Black Gold Edition" circa 1980.
  • The guy from the 21st Century Insurance commercials


Comic Books

  • The Comedian from Watchmen.
  • Deadshot from Suicide Squad and Secret Six.
  • The Planet of Pornstaches - Viltrum from Invincible.
  • The new Power Girl comic features the ultimate ham Vartox, an out of date hero from the 70s who rules his planet through a combination of super powers, unbelievable manliness, and a porn stache of truly epic proportions. Played entirely serious in the character's first appearances, back when he was introduced to cash in on the popularity of... Sean Connery in Zardoz.


Film


Live-Action TV

  • Battlestar Galactica (2003 version)
    • Commander Bill Adama had one during the first couple of episodes of season three.
    • Edward James Olmos shaved off his trademark moustache when he took the role of "Bill Adama". He regrew it for the "New Caprica" arc, to symbolize the character's complacency during this period where humanity wasn't being killed off by Cylons, but ultimately shaved it off once humanity was successfully evacuated from the planet when the Cylons took over.
  • BJ Hunnicutt grew one for the last few seasons of M*A*S*H to stick to the Army. In the '70s it probably worked, but today it's a little hard to take the devoted family man and compassionate doctor seriously when he looks like a '70s porn star.
  • Nick Stokes, briefly, on the original CSI. He mercifully got rid of it.
  • Wash from Firefly has one in a flashback. Zoe comments that there's "something" she doesn't like about him. Since they eventually get married and he's cleanshaven in the rest of the series, presumably the lady just doesn't like porn staches. Of course, then there's the blooper version of that scene where both Zoe and Mal are also wearing porn staches....
  • DS Ray Carling in Life On Mars and especially Ashes to Ashes.
  • Tom Selleck, of Magnum, P.I. fame.
  • Tom Selleck also sports one when he plays Monica's boyfriend Richard on Friends... it's pretty conspicuous.
  • Earl from My Name Is Earl.
  • Captain Stottlemeyer from Monk.
  • Matthew grows one in an episode of News Radio, much to the other characters' horror, and Jimmy James is revealed--to his eternal embarrassment--to have grown one once. See the quote page.
  • Detective Ronnie Gardocki, during the first two seasons of The Shield, had a porn 'stache before trading up for a full beard for the rest of the series (minus the second half of season six, where he was clean shaven). Actor David Rees Snell has over the years acknowledged the pros and cons of his choice of facial hair, noting that in spite of the various jokes people made about his 'stache, that it helped him stand out on a show filled with clean-shaven men and develop a fan following amongst viewers of the show.
  • Most of the male cops in Reno 911.
  • The Janitor from Scrubs had one when he was a hurdle runner, before sleeping with the President's daughter (or so he claimed).
  • Inevitably, one of the male leads in Swingtown.
  • Kelso from That 70s Show grew one of these when he became a cop because he thought it would make him look like an authority figure. Hyde said it made him look like a porn star. Kelso was happy either way. His friends later shaved it into a Hitler mustache while he was sleeping.
  • Deputy Sacks from Veronica Mars. Notably, the mustache is fake and without it, he is quite attractive.
  • The X-Files. The Nameless corporate hitman in the two-parter "Tempus Fugit" & "Max" has one. Unfortunately his demise at the hands of alien abductors prevented fans from adding "Porn Stache Man" to X Files' list of nameless bad guys.
  • Robbie Ray Stewart of Hannah Montana dons one of these to transform into his country-singer-turned-manager persona of Robbie Ray.
  • Spencer Shay of ICarly generally includes one of these in any diguise. For example, infiltrating his sisters school as a janitor to catch her making out with Bad Boy Griffin.
  • Mike from All in The Family had one. Once or twice in the series he would shave it off, only for the characters to point out that he looked better with the creepy mustache than without it.
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Butter Shave", Jerry and George grew mustaches. George says he feels like "an out-of-work porn star".
  • In the White Collar episode "Need to Know," it's revealed that during Neal's imprisonment, Peter had a mustache for about a month. After seeing a photograph, Neal comments that he was expecting something more Magnum, P.I. and less Mario.
  • In Supernatural Gabriel dons a fake porntache on a porn DVD he gives to the Winchesters.
  • Brendan Brady in Holly Oaks
  • Jason King. Just ... Jason King.
  • In Drake and Josh, Josh attempts to grow one of these (being a kids show, they didn't actually say that it was a "porn stache" but it was implied), but everyone hates it, including his girlfriend, who even refuses to kiss him with the mustache.
  • Both Mike Stoker and Marco Lopez sported impressive models in the TV show Emergency.
  • Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS fame. He has one (briefly) after recovering from amnesia that wigged Tony out.

 Gibbs: I need you to look at something before you leave.

Fornell: You've got that mustache in a box, don't you?

  • The Top Gear presenters all sport these during The Interceptors segment, a parody of 1970s detective series in general.
  • A picture in Torchwood: Miracle Day showed the immortal Jack Harkness as having one in the 1970s.
  • Hutch has a mustache for the entire fourth and final season of Starsky and Hutch.


Music

  • Freddie Mercury.
  • Rivers Cuomo, the lead vocalist of Weezer, during the Red Album days.
  • Har Mar Superstar has a very thin one, but it's clearly a porn 'stache.
  • Frank Zappa.
  • Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath.
  • Brad Delp, former lead singer of the band Boston.
  • Gunther. "Ooooh, you touch my tralala.../Ooooh, my dingdingdong..."
  • Referenced in "Mustache" by the country music band Heartland, in which the narrator expresses his astonishment at the guy his girlfriend has dumped him for:

 He's got a mustache

Has she lost her mind?

He's got a mustache

Straight out of 1979

It looks like a porn star...


Newspaper Comics


Professional Wrestling

  • Wrestler Scott Hall had one during his AWA days, when he was "Magnum" Scott Hall. He later shaved it before going to the WWF and becoming Razor Ramon.
    • And the man he was emulating, "Magnum" TA - who looked a little like Tom Selleck from Magnum PI.
  • Announcer Tony Schiavone, early in his career.
  • "Ravishing" Rick Rude, in what had to be a deliberate instance.
  • It became a good chunk of independent wrester Joey Ryan's gimmick for a time, although he tended to also wear a little stubble which diluted the effect. Part of his gimmick was a sleazy 70s Casanova Wannabe, and his finishing move was called a Mustache Ride (which was also the beginning of his entrance music.)


Video Games


Webcomics


Web Originals

  • Italian Spiderman. At one point, he throws it like a boomerang.
  • This ad for Mario Kart DS shows three Japanese pop-rock-types sporting these and winking/grinning at the camera. You can play with people across the world via Wi-Fi, and this is represented by the various stereotyped versions of the guy with the Mario-like mustache and hat. The picture has become rather popular as an avatar icon.
  • Gaia Online's Timmy experienced "Megapuberty" and had the choice of either growing to adulthood immediately or remaining a child forever, and out of indecision decided to poll the fandom. Most of the fans who voted started talking about what a Bishounen Timmy would grow up to be. Instead, Timmy grew up Hollywood Homely (think Nicolas Cage's character in Raising Arizona), and has since then been accosted by police officers purely because they could not believe someone with a mustache like that was an honest citizen.
  • Binder of Shame's appropriately-named Deviant Boy is described as having an "abnormally thick moustache".
  • Parodied in Episode 4 of Manwhores when Kevin gets a fake one in order to imitate Randy. Five minutes later, he's in an 8-way. Yes, an 8-way.


Western Animation

 He's got the kind of facial hair that says "Yeah, I've been naked on camera before, what of it?"

  • Tony Stark in the '90s animated version of Iron Man. The mullet doesn't help.
  • The Venture Brothers
    • Brock Samson has one of these whenever he appears in college flashbacks.
    • Him and Rusty both have them for a brief spell. "What were we thinking?"
  • William Murderface of Metalocalypse. Mainly because he's based off of Geezer Butler, who, as stated above, had one.
  • The Simpsons: stupid sexy Flanders!
  • Spell #25 sprouts a luxurious porn 'stache on the lip of either sex.


Other


Real Life

  • Actors and media figures:
    • Porn actors:
      • Porn star Ron Jeremy, perhaps the most iconic example and probably responsible for the association with porn.
      • John Holmes, the inspiration for Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights.
      • And the original Porn Stache, Harry Reems.
    • Ric Romero, consumer reporter for Los Angeles-based KABC-TV and Internet meme extraordinaire.
    • John Stossel, former ABC newsman and host of 20/20.
    • Ron Howard sported one in the early 1980s. It's shown in all its glory in a 1982 episode of Saturday Night Live he hosted.
    • Geraldo Rivera.
    • Film critic/conservative commentator/self-styled "cultural crusader" who's supposedly led a "controversial life", Michael Medved.
    • Burt Reynolds.
    • Seventies Porn Colin, a 1970s publicity shot of Colin Baker shirtless and sporting one of these, has attained memetic status in Doctor Who fandom.
  • Athletes and sports figures:
    • NASCAR has plenty of famous drivers with porn 'staches. Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Tim Richmond, Neil Bonnett, Terry Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Mike Skinner...
    • In Formula One the most notorious Porn Stache is Nigel Mansell's.
    • Mark Spitz, who won seven gold medals in a single Olympic Games.
    • Baseball player Jeff Kent's famous facial hair has led to baseball announcers to jokingly refer to impressive or important home runs by Jeff Kent as "money shots".
    • NBA commissioner David Stern had one early in his tenure, clearly evident in archive photos from the '84 draft.
    • Famous mustachioed Yankee player of the 80s and early 90s Don Mattingly and Jason Giambi. Giambi in particular, credited Mattingly as the inspiration for him growing his in 2008. Giambi (known famously for his full beard/long haired look while he was a member of the Oakland Athletics) infamously shaved off his facial hair when he signed with the Yankees in 2002, so his decision to grow a moustache revived his career with the organization and with fans after several years of subpar playing and revelations that he was on steroids for the bulk of his tenure at Oakland. The Yankees later held a "Jason Giambi Mustache Day" in which they gave out fake mustaches as a promotion to get Giambi the final spot on the AL All-Star Team roster. He didn't win the vote, though.
    • George Parros, enforcer of the Anaheim Ducks. He's even earned the nickname "Stache" because of it.
    • Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt has sported one since his playing days.
    • Two-time Vezina/Conn Smythe/Stanley Cup winning Hall of Fame NHL goaltender Bernie Parent of the Philadelphia Flyers had one of the most awe-inspiring examples of the trope in the history of North American professional sports during the 1970s.
    • Broad Street Bullies-era backup goalie Bobby Taylor was a fairly decent backup for Parent in this area as well. Hockey seemed to raise a bumper crop in those days, with even Taylor cheerfully quipping in the HBO documentary on the team, The Broad Street Bullies, that "we looked like a bunch of porn stars."
    • In fact, the Flyers in particular are no slouches in the porn stache department, with another Vezina and Conn Smythe coming from netminder Ron Hextall in the 80s.
    • Sportscaster and entertainment reporter Pat O'Brien.
    • Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder.
    • Keith Olbermann alternated between this and clean-shaven from his days as a sports anchor in Los Angeles until midway through his Sports Center tenure, after which he apparently hacked it off for good. Apparently he figured out that the look may work for some people (YMMV), but it unambiguously does not work for him.
    • Similarly, ESPN's Chris Berman sported one early in his tenure on ESPN and recently decided to give it another try.
    • MLB Pitcher Carl Pavano - especially when it's not fully grown in.
    • Possibly-former Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.
  • Historial and political figures:
    • John R. Bolton.
    • Not uncommon among European royalty of the 19th and early 20th centuries, with King Umberto I of Italy having one of the most epic Porn Staches of all time.
    • Some of his (numerous) detractors argue that the moustache Peter Mandelson used to have looked like one of these. Judge for yourself.
    • And of course, Josef Stalin. He even was nicknamed "Baffone" ("Big Moustache") in Italy.
      • And some of his comrades too, like Vyacheslav Molotov, Lazar Kaganovich and Andrei Zhdanov.
    • Saddam Hussein.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Nikola Tesla. Ironically, he was celibate.
    • Günther, the stage persona of Swedish singer Mats Söderlund. His entire act is indeed modeled on bad German porn stars.
    • Don Frye, MMA fighter and the Badass Captain Gordon in Godzilla: Final Wars.
    • Friedrich Nietzsche had an uber-Porn Stache.
    • British Army lore has it that these are standard issue for the SAS, so the page quote may well be justified. However, considering the skills of a standard SAS soldier, it is a bad idea to mock them for this.
    • Meet The Talking Car, an old children's safety PSA, gives one of these to one of the cars. The car in question seems peculiarly affable towards children, claims to have known quite a few boys in girls "in my day", and adds that they are good.
    • The University of Western Ontario's Science Faculty has a mascot, by the name of Sanchez. Sanchez, cheerfully referred to as "Our King" by the faculty, is a blow-up doll possessing-of course-only the most epic of porn 'staches.

Notes

  1. It still has these associations in some countries, particularly where fashion is still somewhat stuck in the '70s. One of these in the Arab world--indeed, chances are that someone sporting one of these--in fiction and in real life--in an Arab country is a cop.
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