In To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lara Jean writes odes to the men she’s loved, often inexplicably, sometimes in secret. They were sonnets she penned to work through her own complicated feelings of attraction and adoration, never intended for public consumption.
I, too, have been writing love letters on the DL—to Timothée, to Harry, to Justin. More precisely, I’m harboring controversial feelings about the wispy mustaches they’ve been sporting recently. I now feel they must be aired in a public forum.
Yes, men, including Timothée Chalamet, Harry Styles, Joe Keery, and Justin Bieber have decided we can have a little facial hair, as a treat. The look’s not clean-shaven, it’s not a handlebar. It’s firmly committed to being barely-there, patchy, scruff. These celebrities typically pair their minuscule mustaches with reliably chic ensembles. But still, the Internet is seemingly divided over the movement.
In some ways, the ‘staches carry with them an aura of nostalgia. I’m instantly transported to my high school gym, greeted at homecoming by a row of teen boys touting the peach fuzz they spent all week growing. And yet, they signify a decidedly modern moment in manscaping. Grooming moves that were once viewed as missteps (Brad Pitt’s ducktail also comes to mind) are now definitively A Choice.
Like the overgrown mane trend, the lil’ ‘staches are a litmus test of sorts. These men are proving how hot they still manage to be even with the hungover mid-morning answer to a 5 o’clock shadow. Each time Styles performs at an awards show, or Chalamet walks a red carpet with the sparse hair, it becomes just as intentional as the full-bearded whiskers of Tom Selleck or Sam Elliot.
Expressing approval for this trend is potentially dangerous. After all, A-listers would do well to remember that not everyone can work scaled-down scruff. For now, in the words of Peter Kavinsky, Styles’ ‘stache can break my heart. (And likely will, when I can no longer count each hair that resides above his upper lip.)