Five cities where you can sport a non-ironic mustache
But your options for maintaining a dubious set of whiskers on your upper lip are limited: You either have to start dressing like a lumberjack and waxing it daily to ensure everyone knows how hilarious you realize it is, or move to a city where you can honestly, truly embrace all that it means to wear a mustache.
The five cities below offer safe haven for those that don't want to start listening to alt folk, but simply want to admire their mustachioed faces in the mirror.
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Denver's population and popularity have exploded in recent years, largely due to the booming vegan donut industry. Some would argue legal weed plays a role, but don't listen to them.
Denver was and is and always will be a pioneer town. The only city of its size for hundreds of miles in any direction, the promise of gold brought the first large numbers of citizens to the area. But the area surrounding Denver is still rural and still very much full of old-school ranches and cowboys that still drive cattle through nearby valleys and mountain ranges.
Your mustache will never feel more comfortable than during the National Western Stock Show, held in Denver every January. It's like the Super Bowl of showing off livestock; plus there are rodeos, a parade of longhorns through the streets of downtown and a general 'yee-haw' vibe.
Denver has the added benefit for mustachiers of being home to a vibrant hipster scene, so you'll fit right in no matter how you choose to grow your whiskers.
Recommended mustache style: Horseshoe
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Not to be confused with Whitney (R.I.P.), the city of Houston is indeed the place that your cousin or uncle is constantly traveling to "for work."
It's hot, overcrowded, and smells like oil no matter where you are (or maybe just when you're, like, near oil, but never mind that), and it's the most populous city in the great state of Texas. And if you don't think of mustaches when you think of Texas, you are strange and should be avoided by your peers.
You can be extra badass by going on the hunt for wild alligators. Just imagine yourself shirtless, wrestling an alligator, with your mustache shining in the sun. There ain't nuthin' ironic about that.
Recommended mustache style: Handlebar
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I had an uncle from Chicago who sported a killer 'stache, very full and well maintained to boot. Plus it's cold as heyall for basically 11 months of the year, and you've got to have to something to protect your face from the gentle wind (aka the worst wind that's ever existed) blowing off of Lake Michigan.
It's also very important to use your mustache in Chicago to filter the foam from your Old Style while you imitate the "da Bears" Saturday Night Live sketch. Additionally, Mike Ditka has a sweet mustache, so the mere fact of insinuating it as being ironic would bring a forceful and swift response to the doubters.
Recommended mustache style: Walrus
4. Santa Fe
Yes celebrities and post-modern poets love Santa Fe, but it's still the high desert where you might trip over a longhorn skull, and cowboy boots and bolo ties are considered formal wear.
It's easy to forget that Santa Fe is one of the oldest cities in the U.S., at over 500 years. And undoubtedly the Spanish conquistadors that "founded" the city sported some sweet facial hair.
If you really want to get your handle-bars saucy, stop in for some BBQ at Cowgirl. Just don't forget to clean up afterwards — there's nothing less mustache-worthy than dirty, old food stuck up in there.
Recommended mustache style: Chevron
Pronounced "Mill-ah-walk-ay," according to Alice Cooper, you basically have to have a real mustache to even be allowed entry to Beertown.
With one of the lower hipster ratios compared to the other cities on this list, you can really let that bad boy shine without fear of being mistaken as a fan of post-grunge-core.
Pair that brew (if you're not drinking beer here, you will be held down and your mustache forcible shaven) with some of the city's best cheese curds.
Recommended mustache style: Painter's brush
So get out there and be proud of that face toothbrush. You earned it by essentially being too lazy to shave!
James Kerley is a senior editor with MapQuest.