Friday, June 27, 2008

'stache #35 - sugar snap pea moustache

A moustache of the poor, the sugarsnappeastache long marked the perimeters of urban decline and false promises...until, of course, irony and cultural referents brought it back to life. The first recorded use of the sugar snap pea moustache was, not surprisingly, in Stephen Crane's Maggie, A Girl of the Streets, a notable work of fiction based on kinda true occurrences of the late 19th century Bowery street urchins. In the story, Maggie's little brother Tommie, at age 4, 'staches what little dinner the family has to look the ripe age of 12 so he can pay rent at the flophouse one night when father is drunk and beating the children. In an interview in 1895, Jacob Riis mentioned that the snap pea was popular among the "other half" but they refused to be photographed wearing such a poverty lip legume. The shame was understandable, and the reasons why the real 'stache will never get in the books are well studied. It was the 1890s. The frontier had just barely closed, the government gave Americans free land and free gold, and, in the cities, a great deal of wealth was expected. So it was until a young Joan Didion, working diligently at Vogue, 'stached a pea here or there, that the sugar snap pea moustache quickly found fame amongst the waify girls and boys of urban centers.

This is a summertime 'stache. It should be noted that Fats Domino was a huge fan of this moustache.

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