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September 21, 2023

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Mustache Club’ busies students

It is growing season at Carleton College.

The school’s Mustache Club has sprung into action, with members continuing a time-honored campus tradition.

“I don’t know the exact year it started,” said club co-president Willy Guenthner, a senior from Oak Park, Ill. “It goes back six or seven years, I think.”

A club devoted to promoting the growth, appreciation and awareness of ‘staches fits right in at Carleton. The private liberal arts school in Northfield, Minn., also has clubs for croquet aficionados, fans of Lindy hop dancing and redheads. There’s also a group called the Gender Neutral Cheerboys.

“Carleton students are a little like that, especially in the winter when it’s cold and you’re looking for something to entertain yourself,” Guenthner said, referring to the Mustache Club, not those Cheerboys.

“I think it grew out of a sense of, what can we do for camaraderie’s sake during the winter?”

He said it’s too early to tell how many are in the club – that fuzzy guy you pass in the hall could be a member, or maybe he’s just a guy with a broken razor – but last year there were about 50 students and a half-dozen faculty members involved.

“Really, the size is determined when we have our annual meeting,” added Chicagoan John Kracum, a senior who has been a club member for three years. “We expect more this year because last year there was a large group of underclassmen.”

Club membership standards aren’t particularly rigid; a minimum two weeks’ growth is required to join.

And let’s have no whining about discrimination. Women can join too. According to the rules, if a woman is willing to shave her face, excluding the upper lip area, she’s in.

Aside from keeping students’ minds off more ponderous issues – classes, Northfield’s 40-inch annual snowfall, a rebirth of the draft – the Mustache Club also lets them do some good. Money raised by the sale of club T-shirts – there’s a mustachioed smiley face on the front – goes to a local organization that aids victims of domestic or child abuse and sexual assault. The mustache mania will reach its peak on March 11. At 10 that night, the evening before finals start, the school serves its annual Late Night Breakfast in the dining hall. The club convenes in a corner, where the presidents deliver their State of the Mustache addresses and members get to show off what they’ve cultivated.

“During most of the term, everybody just sort of grows facial hair and doesn’t really trim or create a mustache,” Guenthner said. “But at the Late Night Breakfast, people will do a Civil War mustache with long muttonchops, or a soul patch, or a Fu Manchu or a handlebar mustache.”

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s not serious, obviously,” Kracum said.

“You can’t go into it thinking we’re pushing for mustache rights or anything. It’s just a good way for people to get together and do something they wouldn’t do normally. Just a good, lighthearted experience.”

Interested in buying a T-shirt? Drop Willy Guenthner an e-mail at [email protected].

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