There was something about puberty and the arrival of facial hair that turned boys into preening peacocks during the 70’s. Boys have always scrutinized their chins and upper lips for any sign of activity, trying to cultivate a few curly wisps into the full manly mustache, but at no time like the 70’s were the feeble attempts cheered on so vehemently.
The mustache had not been a mass fashion since the turn of the century, but the sexual revolution returned it to the mainstream. The mustache was virile, and at a time when women were adopting unisex fashions and competing with men in the corporate world, the look of mustache and sideburns was one thing that women couldn’t take over. Sideburns were dubbed ‘mutton chops’ for the meat portion style of hair that grew down onto the face. While close to being a full beard, the mustache and sideburns maintained their own identity.
Hippie boys in the 60’s went natural, growing out their hair and their beards, but the 70’s trimmed back the scraggly look. Hair got shorter, but still mop-topped with a wide side part and a heavy wave over the forehead, or brushed back into a pompadour. Men wanted to maintain their masculinity in the unisexy world, and a thick, hearty mustache was a sure sign of success.