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Mustaches and Toddlers, why?

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My daughter has told me, twice, that she found a book scary (although I’ve thought she was scared at two other times). One was a reaction to scene in which a little boy was almost drowning in a well. Another was to the cover of Mac Barnett and Kevin Cornell’s Mustache! When we finally read it (after she had overcome her fear), she said that the pictures of people drawing mustaches everywhere were “scary and funny.” She makes me put the book away because, although she enjoys the story, the cover still scares her.

When you think about moustaches (I’m feeling a little British today)/mustaches and kids you may think of When you think about moustaches in general these days you may think of charity work, since the moustache growing for a cause seems increasingly popular (among my biased sample group, people I know). Moustaches often seem to appear in children’s books (and Elmo has his own moustached man that he keeps locked away in a room, Mr. Noodle). From the late, the great Sendak and Seuss to today, moustaches abound. What is going on? This maybe would make more sense if they had beards, like Santa Claus and other jolly folk, but moustaches can have dirty or negative connotations. In fact when I google “mustaches connotations” the first link is Why do Solo Mustaches & Goatees have such a bad reputation? in … and another nearby link is “Sex Terms You Don’t Dare Ask About – AskMen.” I didn’t click on that second link. After a couple of more obvious ones, the OED provides the colloquial definition of “A (usually formidable) man with a moustache” for moustache. Formidable men and toddlers, also not an association I would naturally make. Urbandictionary has a ton of definitions including “A universal icon representing the epitome of authority and raw manhood,” “A man with the looks of Adolph Hitler,” and “A style of facial hair commonly referred to as a 70’s porn accessory.” You can see why I find the preponderance of moustaches in kid’s books a little disconcerting. Is it because fake moustaches are more common than other fake facial hair? Because drawing moustaches on things is fun and some find funny? What do you think?

3 responses »

  1. This is a very funny post – never thought of this before! Maybe Santa is benign because he’s rotund. A thin Santa with a beard and moustache might be more worrisome to a child. You’ve intrigued me about the questions you never dare ask about moustaches but I don’t think I dare look it up…

  2. Pingback: Google Searches and Children’s Books | Children's books

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