Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Great Paris Moustache Strike

Never in our planet’s history has our upper lip drawn so much scrutiny. Harken back to 1907, when class friction in France was coming to a boil. In defiance of the strict rules being placed on them from their employers and high-class Parisians, men across Paris were walking off the job, determined not to be humiliated any longer. A great strike had begun and the working class men who embodied it weren’t going to go back to work until they got what they deserved–moustaches.

The movement had nothing to do with vanity, but of humanity and dignity, says Lance Geiger, host of The History Guy. Moustaches had been used since antiquity in Europe and globally to denote status, rank, profession and more. By the 1830s, moustaches became standard in the French military and by the 1860s, they became mandatory. Simultaneously, civilians were rejecting moustaches for clean-shaven faces and black suits. This twin-cultural movement made wearing a moustache a symbol of manliness bravery and military service.

Fast forward to the early 20th century and the tables turned, especially in the food-service industry, where waiters were banned from wearing moustaches to improve hygiene in establishments. Those Parisians affected united and walked off the job, leading to The Great Paris Moustache Strike. Here’s more with The History Guy.

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