Moustaches are the facial hallmark of police officers, porn actors, '80s soap stars, dictators, geniuses, French chefs, incognito criminals and Mr. Potatohead.
A local aspiring filmmaker wants to know what motivates men to alter their appearance by letting hair grow above their upper lip.
"Every man has crafted an image in his head of who he is," says Drew McIntosh, 26. "I want to access that."
In order to do some first-hand research for his documentary, the furry-faced audiovisual technician paid a visit to the barber last weekend to have his beard shorn and fashioned into his very own set of handlebars.
"I look like my dad 30 years ago," laughed the young man, running two fingers affectionately over his lip pelt.
"I call it 'The Wild Bill' because it reminds me of old western movies."
McIntosh plans to randomly approach moustachioed men on the street and do off-the-cuff video interviews to identify the cultural underpinnings of sporting a 'stache.
He figures their responses will vary as much as their moustache style.
SOME THINK THEY'RE CREEPY
"Some people think they're creepy, some think they go along with that whole machismo ideal, or are an authoritative thing. Girls either want to touch them or won't go near them," says McIntosh. "There's a definite moustache culture in the police force and military, and I'd like to understand why."
His barber, a 59-year-old hippie from Sweeny Todd's Barber Stylists, 11011A 107 Ave., hazards a guess.
"Cops and military guys need to have relatively neat cuts so it makes up for the hair they can't have," says Erwin Witschi, who has a moustache and a beard that extends to his belly. The former Stratford, Ont., resident was once a member of a beard growers' club and hasn't shaved since Sept. 30, 1969.
"I like my moustache heavy, so I just trim it up once a week. If it grows too long, it touches my lips and tickles."
Greg Rose, manager of The Billiard Club, 10505 82 Ave., and a friend of McIntosh's, has been growing a moustache since Jan. 1. On Wednesday night, he hosted the second annual Moustachapalooza, a men's night out attended by about 30 guys with moustaches.