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The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache
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Thread: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

  1. #1

    Default The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache.
    or
    The 100 year itch


    The British Empire was one of the greatest and most diverse the world has ever seen.

    At its height, it was seven times the size of the Roman Empire, its Navy ruled the oceans and a quarter of the earth was painted red on the map.

    Military victories, trade expansion and a talent for bureaucracy all played a part, but even the wisest Briton could not fathom why they were blessed to rule so much of the world. My belief is that the answer lies just under their nose…


    HISTORY

    The impetus for the moustache fashion came from two sources. It began during the Napoleonic Wars of 1799 to 1815 when some British officers began to emulate fighting Frenchmen, whose moustaches were said to be "appurtenances of terror".

    At about the same time, Britons, who by then formed the dominant caste in India, adopted the customs of the country, smoking hookahs, drinking a locally distilled spirit called arrack, wearing pyjamas and growing moustaches.

    By the 1830s this sort of behaviour was condemned as "going native" and the British were discouraged from adopting such ways.

    But some Indian habits remained - the British continued to eat curry, kedgeree and mulligatawny soup.

    And the moustache became imperative because it was seen as a potent symbol of virility. As one contemporary noted, Indians looked upon "the bare faces of the English with amazement and contempt", regarding as na-mard (unmanly) countenances emasculated by the razor.

    British soldiers, in particular, could not afford to appear less masculine and aggressive than their Indian comrades in the Army.

    They had to assert the supremacy of the imperial race.
    So began what became known as "the moustache movement".

    It scored an early victory in 1831 when the 16th Lancers hailed with delight an order permitting them to wear moustaches. But the battle for this war-like appendage was far from won.

    In 1843, for example, political officer James Abbott's 'large mustachios' raised eyebrows, despite his gallant feats on the north-west frontier.
    Such hirsute accessories - condemned by some as being worn by "the vulgar clever" - still seemed to many a foreign affectation, the kind of thing expected only of French coxcombs.

    And when Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General of India, disparaged "capillary decorations" in 1849 they fell like leaves in October.

    But they soon sprouted again, especially when newspapers campaigned for them. In 1854, moustaches were made compulsory for European troops of the East India Company's Bombay army and they were enthusiastically adopted elsewhere.

    The Royal Durban Rangers at once ceased to shave their upper lips, for instance, and the Durban Mercury complimented them on their improved appearance.

    Moustaches were religiously cultivated and subjected to severe discipline, enforced by Queen's Regulations which by the 1860s had made them obligatory.

    They were brushed and pomaded. The follicles were fertilised with patent unguents such as Ayre's Formula, Elliott's Tonic Lotion and Oldridge's Balm of Columbia. The topiary luxuriance was trained with iron curling tongs.

    During and after the Crimean War, barbers advertised different patterns such as the Raglan and the Cardigan, the latter "a remarkable affair, alternately billowing out and narrowing".
    Moustaches were clipped and trimmed until they curved like sabres and bristled like bayonets. Their ends were waxed and given a soldierly erection.
    They became the talisman of militant imperialists such as Alfred Milner, who served in Egypt and South Africa in the late-19th century; Frederick Lugard, a governor of Hong Kong and Nigeria; Lieutenant-Colonel D.M.C.T.
    Lumsden who served in India at the turn of the 20th century; and the great explorer of Africa Sir Richard Burton (who challenged a fellow Oxford undergraduate to a duel for laughing at his moustache, which matured into the most prodigious walrus of the age).

    As a martinet in the Pacific, George McGhee Murdoch paraded his determination to dominate by "the deliberate, waxed bristle of his sergeant-major's moustache".
    In Kenya, the famous lion hunter Colonel J. H. Patterson groomed his moustache into "two imperious curls" to symbolise his courage. Imitating warriors, civilians too stiffened their upper lips: Karl Marx's collaborator, Friedrich Engels, mocked Anglo-Irish aristocrats with "enormous moustaches under colossal Roman noses".

    By the 1890s, the moustache was the mark of every successful dandy. As far away as Hong Kong, it was said to be social death for a man to forget to curl the ends of his moustache.

    At home, Edwardian gentlemen rebuked servants who aped the "fancy hairdressing" of their betters.

    So the moustache became the emblem of Empire. But as the British Empire faltered under the hammer blows of war, depression and nationalist resistance, the moustache too beat a retreat.

    The British commanding officer who surrendered to the Japanese at Singapore, General Percival, had a miserable apology of a moustache.
    General Sir Gerald Templer, the Chief of the Imperial Staff at the time of Suez in 1956, had a late-imperial moustache that was "so thin as to be barely perceptible".

    Sir Anthony Eden's was somewhat similar but, to make matters worse, it was said to have "curled inside out" in an embarrassingly effete manner.
    One young Tory MP said that "Eden had to prove he had a real moustache" - a metaphor for proving his courage. The Prime Minister's wife, Clarissa, did her best to help.

    Moments before her husband's broadcast on November 3, 1956, the eve of the invasion of Suez, she saw on a television monitor that his moustache was almost invisible and quickly blackened it with her mascara. By then, the moustache was vanishing as fast as the Empire.

    True, it had ceased to be compulsory in the Army as early as 1916, when King's Regulations had permitted shaving the upper lip.
    Allegedly that change took place to accommodate the Prince of Wales, whose growth was less than manly.

    It had become a joke thanks to Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx and an international symbol of villainy thanks to Hitler's toothbrush and "the huge laughing cockroaches" under Stalin's nose - the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam paid with his life for coining this image. In Britain, it was seen primarily as the badge of Colonel Blimp.

    In one P.G. Wodehouse novel of 1954, Bertie Wooster tries cultivating one to give himself a dashing air. It is stigmatised by Jeeves, that infallible arbiter of fashion, as a "dark stain like mulligatawny soup".

    The last British Prime Minister to sport a moustache in office was Harold Macmillan. It was an indication of his desire, not fulfilled, to preserve the Empire.

    And it had survived terrible vicissitudes - as he emerged from the wreckage of a war-time plane crash in Algiers, his moustache was "burning with a bright blue flame".


    MOUSTACHES AND THE DECLINE OF THE EMPIRE



    As can be seen from this graph, the hundred year period 1857-1957 saw the terminal decline of the Empire coincide directly with the decline in the popularity of large moustaches.


    The time following the Sudan is seen as a particularly bad one for the moustache and for the Empire in general. WW1 saw many finely moustachioed gents gunned down whilst bare-lipped commoners cowered in their trenches. The Battle of Britain saw a return of large moustaches for a while, mostly co-pilots and Navigators named ‘Woolly Thompson’ ‘Archie Ack-ack’ and so forth.

    The time of Suez brought about the death or large moustaches and, consequently, the Empire.


    Proved himself during the India Mutiny by making contact with the British Army at no small danger to himself. Troops joked that 'There’s no chin behind Thomas Kavanagh’s moustache, only another fist'



    Russian fled in terror at the sight of a tusk-less walrus bearing down on them.



    Lord Napier had such a stiff upper lip his moustache had a concrete foundation.



    The Boer high command fell into Roberts’ hands after searching the end of a rainbow for a pot of gold and mistaking Roberts for a Leprechaun.



    The Boer lived up to their reputation for cunning by replacing Symon’s moustache wax for Lioness pheromone.



    Lumsdan avoided dark caves at all costs as his moustache attracted Bats.



    Lord Lugard lost his job in Hong Kong when his moustache started making racist jokes about the local Chinese populace.



    A lion of the Empire, Kitchener won his moustache in a card game in South Africa and had it stuck on with a strong adhesive. When this got out the troops were demoralized and the popularity of large moustaches reached an all time low.



    Whereas Haig was known as ‘The Butcher of the Somme’ General Melchett was known as ‘The Baker of Ypres’ for keeping his moustache dry with flour during the rainy spring. Although a figure of ridicule among the rank and file, A certain Captain E. Blackadder noted that General Melchett’s moustache was "as funny as getting an arrow through the neck, and then finding there's a gas bill tied to it".



    Oh Monty, Monty, Monty. With Market-garden meeting full success, Monty made the fateful decision to cut his ‘tache to a more manageable size to take part in the annual Bognor Regis soup-eating contest. This emboldened the Germans to counter-attack…



    Oversaw the disaster at Singapore. Blame can be placed directly on the moustache size preferred by Percival, described by a Japanese Officer as ‘Nasal hair trying to escape’.



    A limited moustache may be all well and good defeating communist insurgents in Malaya, but against large and powerful Egyptian moustaches there was no hope of victory.



    Suez saw the end of Britain as a great power, and consequently saw an end to large moustaches. Eden died in 1977. His moustache died a year later.



    As can clearly be seen, imperial ambitions need large moustaches to assure victory. America and its allies are doomed in Iraq if we do not return to the days of Roberts or Cardigan.

    YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


    History and pics taken from The Daily Mail. All caption jokes are copyrighted Markas inc.
    'When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything. '

    -Emile Cammaerts' book The Laughing Prophets (1937)

    Under the patronage of Nihil. So there.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    Get ready for a tidal wave of anglophobic comments

  3. #3

    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    If you'r theory is correct we should prepare for the rise of the mexican empire.


    By jacobdebroedere
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  4. #4
    Farnan's Avatar Saviors of the Japanese
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    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache



    Teddy Roosevelt, the man who made the US into a world power had a pretty big mustache.



    General Pershing's mustache is nothing to be laughed at...


    However neither FDR, nor Ike had mustaches. Maybe the truth is that the strength of the US is inversley porportional to the popularity of the mustache.
    “The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards.”

    —Sir William Francis Butler

  5. #5

    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    come to think about it: Stalin vs Hitler... according to the moustache-theory Hitler was doomed from the very beginning on his eastern campaign!! this is more explanatory than all russian winters combined!! hahah

    a truly revolutionary causal relationship these moustaches are.
    Patronised by Voltaire le Philosophe

    Therefore One hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the most skillful. Seizing the enemy without fighting is the most skillful. War is of vital importance to the state and should not be engaged carelessly... - Sun Tzu

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  6. #6
    Sebdeas's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    Didn't the size of your moustache equal your rank?
    The bigger the moustache the higher the rank?

    And what about beards?:hmmm:

  7. #7

    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    Ah. I see a hole in your theory Markas. The Romans were famous for their clean, shaved faces but they conquered most of Europe.

    Perhaps this theory should only apply to post-antiquity? :hmmm:
    "If I have done any noble action, that is a sufficient memorial; if I have done nothing noble, all the statues in the world will not preserve my memory."
    - Agesilaus II of Sparta


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  8. #8
    Spartacus the Irish's Avatar Tally Ho!
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    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    If beards are taken into the equation, then W. G. Grace should have become dictator of the entire Universe.


    You could get a small dog lost that beauty.
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    how do you suggest a battleship fire directly at tanks...?
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    I don't suggest it. Battleships were, believe it or not, not anti-tank weapons.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    hahahha.,...nice nice nice!

    this thread made my day.

    rep rep rep.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    Bwhahaha. Brilliant!

    And also so tragically true.

    Although I believe I relatively recently saw a report that British officers in Afghanistan were growing beards so as to be more respected by Afghan civilians with whom they came into contact with.

  11. #11
    God-Emperor of Mankind's Avatar Apperently I protect
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    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    Just look at modern examples, Chuck Norris, Condoleezza Rice and Ahmadinejad.
    Obviously, not shaving has it's advantages.
    I think I will grow one of those slick 70's porno moustaces.
    That will give me the respect I deserve.

  12. #12

    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    If moustaches equals success... Then full beard must mean absolute pwnage!
    I always knew I had a good reason to have facial hair...

  13. #13
    Odovacar's Avatar I am with Europe!
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    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    Man. I am speechless.
    A dawn of a revolutionary social theory..who could see the connection between mustaches and world domination till this time?

    But how could have romans bare face? And what about beards? Are they too much or too less for a world domination?

    IN PATROCINIVM SVB HORSEARCHER
    quis enim dubitat quin multis iam saeculis, ex quo vires illius ad Romanorum nomen accesserint, Italia quidem sit gentium domina gloriae vetustate sed Pannonia virtute

    Sorry Armenia, for the rascals who lead us.


  14. #14

    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache



    What about John Jellicoe

    Or Jacky Fisher?

    Geniuses, yet mustachless...

  15. #15
    caratacus's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    The end of Moustaches was really the close of the Edwardian era which coincides with the beginning of the end of the British empire. You can see them characterized in many of the early comic movies especially those of Chaplin, and the 1920's was to herald a new age of clean shaven appearance. At the end of the Great War there was a move to break away from the past by younger population whose status was substantially elevated by the high casualty rate amongst the 25-40 age group and led directly to the rapid changes of the "Roaring Twenties".



    I think it is a great pity as Moustaches give a man's face great dignity. In an age when everyone seems to strive to remain as youthful appearance as possible they are now shunned in Western Europe and North America, but if you think about it they probably were grown to indicate a man's youthful vigour rather than his maturity as facial hair is always the first to show the grey hairs of age.

  16. #16
    Centurion-Lucius-Vorenus's Avatar Protector Domesticus
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    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    A CHALLENGER APPEARS !



    But then again, he was a moron.

  17. #17

    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache



    Heh, it just reminded me of this.


  18. #18

    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache

    You men seem to forget, some of the best fighters in antiquity, the Spartans, had mustaches. As their numbers of actual spartan fighters declined, so would the number of mustaches, and so their domination ended. Egad, I'm intrigued by this.

    Chamberlain had quite the mustache though, what happened with him:

    RIP Calvin, you won't be forgotten.

  19. #19

    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache



    No mustache there.

  20. #20
    Comes Domesticorum
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    Default Re: The British Empire- Empire of the Moustache


    Ehem. Apologize to the Romans, now!

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