Stiff upper lip: Student seeks facial hair fame

Courtesy of Mark Margavage

Bill Thomas, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Arguably, few things say “man” in as manly a manner as a mustache.

Monolithic mountains o’ machismo as iconic as Burt Reynolds, Theodore Roosevelt, Wilford Brimley and John Holmes have all boasted bountiful gardens of bushy bristles upon their upper lips, as if to communicate to the world – and to the ladies in particular – that the potency of their testosterone levels is simply not to be questioned.

These days, it’s not always easy finding a chap with enough two-fisted derring-do and shave-resistant stalwartness to rock a robust mustache the likes of which Yosemite Sam would envy.

Wilkes University student Mark Margavage, however, might just be NEPA’s great mustachioed hope.

“The looks I get are usually from girls who just can’t believe it, or from guys who are jealous and wish they could grow a mustache like this,” Margavage said with a chuckle.  “I groom it every day and it gets a little bit better every day.”

So distinctive are the junior earth and environmental science major’s handlebar whiskers that they’ve begun to get him attention whenever he goes out. It’s not uncommon for awe-struck passerby to stop Margavage and ask him to pose for a picture.

One such instance recently inspired the Edwardsville native to try and take his mustache national. After a Spencer’s Gifts employee spotted Margavage’s impressive ‘stache, she told him about a contest sponsored by Spencer’s, called Mustache March.

The contest encourages mustachioed men – and women! – of all ages to submit a headshot so that Facebook users can vote on just who actually has the best mustache of them all.

Now, Margavage is on a campaign to be crowned Mustache Master.

“I have a legit shot at this if the Wilkes students support it. I figured, if they support me it’s only right that I give back, ” Margavage said.

It is with that sentiment in mind that Margavage, if his campaign is successful, plans to donate the prize to Student Government. That prize?  A $500 gift certificate to Spencer’s Gifts.

“I think with that they could throw a pretty kick-ass laser-light or black-light party for the students.”

Though Margavage is enthusiastic and hopes to solidify the terms of his donation soon, Student Government President William Eggleston pointed out that no definitive plans for any such party have been made.

“We are always interested in fulfilling as many student requests as possible and we would certainly do everything in our power to make the event happen if we received the donation,” Eggleston said via email.

“However, students would need to understand that events take a lot of preliminary planning and realistically any sort of black-light party or other event covered by the donation would not take place until the fall semester at the earliest.”

As of press time, Margavage has more than 800 votes, putting him in fourth place. And rising.

“The top three mustaches (besides my own) are all fake mustaches,” Margavage said, imploring Wilkes students to stand up for the cause of facial hair authenticity.

Margavage’s three main competitors currently include “Nanuwins,” a woman wearing a fake mustache, “Kristina,” an infant whose picture features her clad in a wool cap with a fake beard attached to it, and “Lostboyz70x,” a man who isn’t wearing even a fake mustache in his photo. Instead, the mustache has been drawn with marker onto the photo itself.

“This is important. Help me beat these phonies.”

Voting for the contest ends Saturday, March 31. To vote for Margavage, click here. Or go to facebook.com/spencers and search for “Mark” using the Mustache March app. Users can vote once a day, though voting is not supported by the mobile app and must be done using either a desktop or laptop computer.