Moustache Money for Movember
But long before the moustache was grown ironically as a way of highlighting extremely worthy causes, it was a thing of distinction and masculine prowess that allowed men of the past to authoritatively accentuate their features while simultaneously terrifying small children.
Perhaps you are in a quandary as to how to style your whiskers this November. Allow us to provide you with a selection of the finest moustaches on currency from throughout history and across the world; consider this your Movember 2016 stylebook.
100 Ukrainian hryvnia – Taras Shevchenko
Taras Shevchenko was a 19th century Ukrainian poet and painter whose work is considered to be the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and language, and whose his face is considered to be the foundation of a particularly fine and imposing horseshoe moustache. It’s a testament to the timeless power of this facial hair that it is equally at home atop the head of a contemporary A-list celebrity as it is hanging regally from the upper lip of one of the Ukraine’s preeminent artistic thinkers.
100 Canadian dollars – Sir Robert Borden
The 8th Prime Minister of Canada Sir Robert Borden gazes assuredly out of this 100-dollar note, like a man who has just watched another man walk through a door without first holding it open for his female companion. The wry crinkle in Borden’s formidable chevron moustache betrays his resigned disapproval of yet another sign that society is going to the dogs.
10 Australian dollars – Henry Lawson
Nineteenth century Australian writer and bush poet Henry Lawson gives a thousand-yard stare with a haunted expression on his face, his haunted moustache pinned back against his cheeks in terror. Perhaps that is the cost of single-handedly reinventing Australian realism, or perhaps it is what happens after you’ve been banged up for drunkenness and non-payment of child support.
20,000 Hungarian forint – Deák Ferenc
The untamed, corpulent walrus moustache worn by Deák Ferenc earned him the title of ‘Wise Man of the Nation’ and a place on Hungary’s highest denomination banknote. Okay, the accolades may have been partly attributed to his instrumental role in abolishing the tax-exempt status of Hungarian aristocrats and liberating the nation’s serfs, but it’s safe to say having a moustache that looks like Mr Tumnus running across his face will have been a deciding factor too.
1000 Japanese yen – Natsume Sōseki
Japanese novelist Natsume Sōseki (author of cat-narrated satire I Am a Cat) appears on his country’s lowest denomination banknote, a somber chevron moustache masking the vulnerability apparent in his eyes. Born Natsume Kinnosuke, he changed his surname to a Chinese idiom meaning ‘stubborn’ in the face of his family’s opposition to his chosen career. He went to study in Great Britain in 1900 and lived in Clapham. “The two years I spent in London were the most unpleasant years in my life. Among English gentlemen I lived in misery,” he said, thereby appearing to have assimilated.
10 Mexican pesos – Emiliano Zapata
Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata radiates a dangerous glare from this pleasingly tessellated banknote, offering a menacing reminder of his role as the leader of the Liberation Army of the South – the Zapatistas. His immaculate handlebar moustache is a thing of baleful beauty; its finely twirled points evoke the vehemence with which the Zapatistas rose up against the landowning classes.
100 Romanian lei – Ion Luca Caragiale
A far less coiffed handlebar here, as befits a man of artistic temperament who wears a tiny bicycle as glasses. Ion Luca Caragiale was a Romanian playwright, poet, theatre manager and journalist, considered one of his country’s greatest theatrical figures and a leading proponent of Romanian humour. Perhaps that is why the comedic trestle masks feature so much more prominently on this banknote than the tragic.
10 Kazakhstani tenge – Shoqan Walikhanov
An especially elegant handlebar to finish, looking like two slides placed back-to-back in a children’s playground. Walikhanov was a Kazakhstani scholar regarded as the father of modern Kazakh historiography and ethnography, combining military intelligence with geographic exploration. He is also the only person on this list to hold the dubious distinction of having a conceivably interchangeable moustache and hairstyle.
You can sign up for (or donate to) Movember here.