Derb On Me In Taki`s
March 12, 2009, 03:56 PM
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John Derbyshire has a very kind essay on me up at Taki's Magazine: "Sailer-ism."

By the way, looking at my picture from last fall illustrating Derb's article, I wanted to mention that I've recently shaved off the goatee. The first famous person in Chicago to wear a goatee in 1991 was the White Sox ace pitcher Jack McDowell, whom I knew slightly because he went to my high school. Jack was a grunge rocker during the offseason and hung out with Eddie Vedder and the like so he brought the Seattle look to Chicago. But it took me years to get around to wearing a goatee. I'm not very fashion forward.

Now, de-goateed, staring at myself in the mirror, I feel like I'm missing something. My face is best seen in limited measure and too much is currently on display. So, I'm thinking about growing a mustache.

Clearly, though, mustaches are around the bottom of the popularity curve. Not even relief pitchers wear mustaches anymore — I looked at pictures of the Dodgers' and Angels' 40-man spring training rosters and nobody has a mustache without accompanying chin ornamentation, not even the bullpen boys. (Facial hair creativity is found most often in masculine workplaces with a hurry-up-and-wait work schedule such as bullpens, firehouses, and army camps. The Civil War was the great progenitor of facial hair fashions, such as the sideburns of General Burnsides. See Ron Maxwell's movie "Gettysburg" to see what men with too much time on their hands can get up to in the facial hair department.) The older stars like Vladimir Guerrero tend to still sport goatees while the rookies tend to have that weird little chin frizz that Tiger Woods displayed awhile ago.

Do firemen still wear mustaches? Lots of the343 FDNY guys who died on 9/11 had mustaches, but have they kept up the look? Do homosexuals still wear mustaches or have they hopped off that bandwagon finally? The only people that I'm sure still like mustaches are the illegal immigrants I see riding bicycles.

Attorney General Eric Holder has a mustache. It looks distinguished on him, but it's the same one he's had for years, so it's not exactly a fashion harbinger.