Why Are Guys Giving Themselves Mustaches During Quarantine?

Hi, I’m Rosa Heyman, and I live with a mustache now. The man behind the mustache used to be my fiancé, but now all I can see is the caterpillar above his upper lip. With just two weeks of social isolation under his belt, Josh, as he was formally known, triumphantly walked out of the bathroom to show off his new ‘stache. I was uncomfortable, but not surprised—I had already started experimenting with retinol, dabbled at an embroidery kit, and was aggressively lighting candles. Josh’s ‘stache? It was just the boy version of cutting your own bangs.

As I politely grimaced at his new face and returned to my daily routine of looking at my phone until my eyeballs bled, I was, within minutes (days? hours? what is time anymore?), inundated with approximately one-billion more mustache pics on Instagram. It was suddenly clear to me: The men of quarantine are staging their own quiet rebellion.

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My betrothed who I love despite his decision to ’stache.

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My brother Harry who said Josh was “an inspiration.”

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Just as some of us are using the stay-at-home mandate to try out over-the-top fashion looks or learn how to DIY a profesh-level gel mani, those with facial hair have decided to “self-improve” by cropping their whiskers into ’70s-inspired face topiary.

And look—I don’t mean to be outright dismissive of mustaches. I know some people are really into them, including some of my colleagues who, uh, normally have excellent taste. But if this were anything *but* an ironic act, why would these dudes choose to go for the groom now? Now, when only their live-in partners and poor roommates are there to witness the cropped and patchy results?

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Deputy editor Jen Ortiz’s partner Ian sporting a ’stache

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SOS is right. This is my friend Amanda’s husband Eric.

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Is it a cry for help? A security blanket? The result of incurable boredom and global despair? Are they, too, scrolling on Insta, but instead of becoming increasingly certain that Joe Exotic is to blame for this trend (he is, don’t fight me), are they just growing more inspired to reach for the shears with each passing ‘stache pic?

I am definitely not an expert on the male psyche, but I do spend a lot of time thinking about gender. And this whole quarantine mustache phenomenon has made me realize that men are under way more pressure to conform than I thought they were (aww).

But…is this really the best they can do? A regular ol’ mustache? Not even something creative, like the panini beard? Like, women are fastening LITERAL PILLOWS to their body! Hilary Duff just gave herself an electric-blue dye job! That girl on TikTok figured out how to curl her hair using the belt from her bathrobe! I demand more!

But fine. Even though I’m not a fan of le moustache, I get the impulse, smol as it is. Unprecedented times call for “drastic” self-care measures. If you need to give yourself a lil trimsky (one that you’ve been secretly curious about but far too corporate to try) to remind yourself “lol, what a crazy time we live in” whenever you catch a glimpse of your ridiculous face in the mirror, I support you. We’re all just searching for moments of levity, anyways. (But, like, seriously—panini beard, guys).

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