Engels Was A Hipster


Our noble town-hall cellar is now so well fitted out it couldn’t be better; you sit so comfortably between the barrels. Last Sunday we had a moustache evening there. For I had sent out a circular to all moustache-capable young men that it was finally time to horrify all philistines, and that that could not be done better than by wearing moustaches. Everyone with the courage to defy philistinism and wear a moustache should therefore sign. I had soon collected a dozen moustaches, and then the 25th of October, when our moustaches would be a month old, was fixed as the day for a common moustache jubilee. But I had a shrewd idea what would happen, bought a little moustache wax and took it with me; it was then found that one had a truly very fine but unfortunately quite white moustache, while another had been instructed by his principal to hack the criminal thing off. Enough, that evening we had to have at least a few, and those who had none had to paint themselves one. Then I got up and proposed the following toast:

Moustaches always were the pride
Of gallant gentlemen far and wide.
Brave soldiers faced their country’s foes
In brown or black mustachios.
So, in these times of martial glory,
Moustaches are obligatory.
Philistines shirk the burden of bristle
By shaving their faces as clean as a whistle.
We are not philistines, so we
Can let our mustachios flourish free.
Long life to every Christian
Who bears his moustaches like a man.
And may all philistines be damned
For having moustaches banished and banned.

– Friederich Engels. Letter to Marie Engels, 1840.


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