'Tache Tales and More

I walked into the Windsor Castle Pub in London and immediately felt like the odd one out. Not because I was sober but because it was the day the Handlebar Club was having its monthly meeting (needless to say, I am clean shaven).
The Handlebar Club comprises of men from diverse backgrounds who are rather proud, as they should be, of their fantastic moustaches.
The 'tache comes in many shapes, sizes and styles. All of these were on display above the not so very stiff upper lips of club members: the classic handlebar, the thin pencil, the toothbrush, the classic cowboy and the horse shoe moustache among others.
"I used to sport an easy rider traditional laid back 'tache, now I've smartened up my act. I now have an English traditional style, slightly tweaked at the ends with a little bit of curl," said Ritz, a member who has been with the club for six years.
"The group started off in 1947," said Rod Littlewood, the Club's president. "After the war, we wanted to preserve this very British tradition," he said.
Before I went to the pub I wondered how much there was to say about facial hair. I thought a group of men talking about their 'taches played into the stereotype about British eccentricity.
But sitting across the table, I heard all about: which blades to use, what barbers to go to, maintenance tips, stories about how strangers stopped members on the street to be photographed with them and best brands of hair wax.
Some boasted about the edge their whiskers gave them.
"People remembered me as the salesman with the long 'tache," said Littlewood. Someone else told me that he is dating a woman he met when she approached him to ask about his moustache. To many, this is about tradition. The great British tradition of generals who grew flamboyant moustaches and conquered the world.
Photos of Handlebar Club member adorn the walls of the Windsor Castle Pub in London (Photo: Rahul Joglekar)The pub is clearly proud of playing host to the Handlebar Club, a hundred-odd pictures of current and past members are on the walls and even the ceiling.
I got caught up in the the cross-hairs because of Movember — a charity event that raises money for prostate cancer and other causes related to men's health. Many in the club had taken it upon themselves to persuade clean shaven men to join their hairy group.
Just as I was about to be converted, a man appeared from the shadows. "We're a bigger and better group. We cover more ground," he said as he slipped a visiting card into my pocket.
The card said in bold letters: "THE BEARDED CLUB of London — join for free."
I am sure I don't want to grow a beard, but I may give Movember a shot next year.

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    A Handlebar Club member shows off his 'tache (Photo: Rahul Joglekar)

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    Photos of Handlebar Club member adorn the walls of the Windsor Castle Pub in London (Photo: Rahul Joglekar)