Handlebar Club

The Handlebar Club is an association of aficionados of the handlebar moustache, based in London. The club's sole requirement for membership is "a hirsute appendage of the upper lip and with graspable extremities"; beards are absolutely forbidden. The club engages in activism to assuage discrimination against the handlebarred as well as competitive facial hair tourneys, and has inspired the foundation of transatlantic and Scandinavian counterparts. The club declares itself to be at war with a society that demands people choose "the bland, the boring and the generic"; a club chant includes the proposition that being kissed by a smooth face is akin to "meat without the salt".

The world's oldest whisker club, the Handlebar Club was founded in a London pub in April 1947 by a convivial gathering of ten, including raconteurs Jimmy Edwards and Frank Muir as well as sports commentator Raymond Glendenning. Their stated intention was to show that "men with moustaches are men of good character", and the mustachioed cohort resolved to meet monthly for "sport, conviviality" and charitable engagements. Enormous moustaches were quite popular among the flying officers of the Royal Air Force in the Second World War, and in founding the club Edwards sought to perpetuate the custom. The Strand Magazine greeted the establishment as "an indication that Handlebars have outlived their time", interpreting the preponderance of "men with a distinctive type of face-wear" banding together as a sign of weakness.

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