From left: Tom Petri, Josh McLeod and Scott Parkinson, staffers for Sen. Ron Johnson, are growing mustaches to raise money for mens cancer charities.
At last count, there were more than two dozen House Members and a single Senator — freshman Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota — sporting facial hair as a regular thing. According to the American Mustache Institute’s online style guide, most of the mustachioed lawmakers on the Hill are sporting the “painter’s brush,” or a “thick mustache covering the width of the mouth, usually worn short, with slightly rounded corners.”
Facial hair has recently become a popular topic beyond the world of Congressional politics.
The American Mustache Institute earlier this month rescinded its endorsement of GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, according to its website. And former state legislator, Democrat and mustache-wearer John Gregg (a hybrid “chevron-walrus” look), is running for governor in Indiana using a mustache logo on his campaign sign and website.
Although some Members have made facial hair an accepted style choice in D.C., the clean-cut nature of Capitol Hill still makes growing mustaches something of a challenge.
“They’re definitely hearing a little bit of teasing [on the Hill] as their facial hair grows in,” Faughnan said of his fellow staffers. “But they’re probably hearing more from unhappy spouses and girlfriends.”
Choate noted that although sporting a mustache can sometimes elicit jokes and jabs, it also helps promote discussions about Movember.
“You go into a meeting and start it off with ‘Hey my name is Jack, I’m growing a mustache for Movember. Have you heard of it?,’” Choate said. “They end up asking you questions and forget about what the meeting was going to be about in the first place.”