LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Suddenly they seem to be showing up everywhere.
Dapper, carefully-trimmed moustaches on businessmen. Freestyle versions on college students, sometimes punctuated with soul patches.
Elaborately-groomed handlebars on cowpokes and bartenders. More pronounced versions on previously discreetly airbrushed images of Frida Kahlo. Big black moustaches on babies ...
Moustaches are trending so strongly that the hirsute fashion statement is boldly going where it's never gone before. On infants' pacifiers, for instance. And on temporary tattoos. Apply one to your index finger, and with a quick gesture, you can join the ranks of the mustachioed any time.
Richard Parra, owner of Spirit Winds in Las Cruces, says he can't keep the moustache paraphernalia in stock.
"We're sold out of the pacifiers. People think they're really funny. All our moustache accoutrements have been selling fast for more than a year.
Right now, we've got some moustache earrings, corkscrews and bumper stickers," said Parra, who is growing a moustache himself.
"It's actually part of a goatee. I just started. It's part of my new winter look," he quipped.
These days, Matt Bleything, owner of LuLu's in Mesilla, may also be paying more attention to mustaches than an old time barber.
The moustache section of his trendy boutique includes everything from baby binkies and moustache-shaped paper clips to a silver moustache ring and temporary tattoos. Apply one to your index finger (or the double Fingerstache to two fingers) and you can quickly assume your choice of 19 personas: Oilman, Carnies, Neighborino, Gunslinger, Professor, Dandy, Plumber, El Bandito, Crybaby, Prospector, Makeout Bandit, Magnum, Sheriff, Villain, 8th Grade Bully, Swashbuckler, Pushbroom or Rich Uncle.
A six-pack of stick-on famous artists' moustaches ranges from a salt-and-pepper Rembrandt to a fiery red Vincent van Gogh.
In fact, some moustaches are so famous that no images are necessary: a name will suffice to conjure the 'stache style. Consider the list of "Top 10 Most Famous Moustaches" on TopTenz.net: Fu Manchu, Tom Selleck, Adolf Hitler, Groucho Marx, Yosemite Sam, Gene Shalit, Charlie Chaplin, baseball Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, surrealist artist Salvador Dali, and someone whose moustache is more famous than his name: Badamsinh Juwansinh Gurjarhis, who spent 22 years growing a 12.5-feet-long mustache, in an attempt to set a world record.
What's the attraction? Several mustachioed guys will give you a quick, practical answer: "It beats shaving."
Others may be convinced they're a babe magnet, with some justification.
"I love mustaches. I even liked them as a teenager. My husband Tony has a white moustache and goatee," said Patti Gruessing of Las Cruces. Hal Fore had a long relationship with his.
"I had a moustache for 40 years. I remember I still had it when I took a wonderful trip to Paris. Then, I just decided I wanted to see my face. I shaved it off and people said I looked younger," Fore said.
"I like the way it looks and it's easier with the right trimmers," said Robert Ramirez of Las Cruces, who reports that he's experimented with many kinds of facial hair, including embedded designs, with the help of Robert "Boomer" Burkhartsmeier of Zucos Barbershop.
Moustaches can even be a rallying point for a cause. Each November, the worldwide Movember movement invites men to grow a 'stache to "raise vital awareness and funds for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives."
For information, visit www.movember.com.
If you're considering growing a 'stache of your own, or even if you're just a fan, you're in the right place.
Las Cruces was named the 27th most mustache-friendly city in the U.S. by the American Mustache Institute, which reportedly considered such factors as "large first responders pool (law enforcement, fire and rescue, EMTs); motorcycles, monster trucks and ATVs per capita; and restaurants serving pork rinds and pickled meats per capita."
Aggie mascot Pistol Pete was not mentioned, but may have been a factor in determining our 'stache status.
The American Mustache Institute sponsors everything from charity benefits to the National Beard and Mustache Championships (the 2012 event was held in Las Vegas in October), 'Stache Bashes and the recent Million Mustache March.
Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com