They used to call the mustache a “soup strainer.” My grandpa still does. And if you’ve got a mustache, you know exactly why. Facial hair is hair that surrounds your mouth, and that’s where the food goes. And since none of us are perfect, some food is going to end up in that hair. It’s inevitable. It’s life. But there are some tricks you can use to minimize the mess, and manage it when it happens.
1. Eat with Utensils
Obviously you know table manners. But there are plenty of foods that are acceptable to eat with the hands, and those foods often require taking a bite out of something. Hamburgers, pizza, eggrolls, anything that requires you to lift food to your face, take a bite, and return the rest to your plate is no longer your friend. When you eat that way, you’re basically just mashing food into the lower half of your face. Clean shaven, it doesn’t much matter if you get a little pizza sauce on your upper lip. Just reach for the napkin and it’s as good as new. Not so when that sauce is painting your whiskers red.
As much as some of us might hate the idea, some finger foods are best eaten with a fork now. Pizza can be eaten with a fork. Donuts, hot dogs, even burritos are manageable. If you can’t eat something with a fork and you’re in public, don’t order it. Especially on a date. That’s not to say you can never have a burger again; it’s just better to do at home. And with a napkin.
An exception to the utensil rule are single-bite finger foods like sushi, donut holes, popcorn (keep it to just a couple pieces) and similar things.
2. Say No to Noodles
Noodles just don’t really work. They dangle. You might not be slurping your spaghetti, but it’s excessively difficult to get those long strings of pasta not to flop on your beard at least a little. And they carry the sauce with them. Whether it’s marinara, or the flavored broth from ramen, it’s going to end up in your beard. Like finger foods, you’re going to need to avoid these things in public. If you’re eating at home and don’t mind being messy, just keep a towel around.
3. Be Careful with Anything That Drips
If you’re eating with a spoon, you’re probably eating something that has some liquid component. Unless you’ve got the still hand of a monk or an expert gunfighter, you are probably going to end up losing a little bit of that liquid. And it’s going to go right into your beard. Cereal, soup, even ice cream after the first few minutes, could become a problem for you. If you must eat these foods, you can minimize the damage by leaning forward a bit and opening your mouth wide for each bite. That will give your spoon a wider passage, and minimize the space between you and the food.
4. Coffee Cups with Lids Are Now Your Friend
When you go to a coffee shop and get the paper cups with the little plastic lids, that’s normally just to prevent the drink from spilling. But these lids are an invaluable tool for the coffee drinking beardsman. Drinking from a mug is essentially dipping your mustache into your coffee. But the narrow opening on the lid of the travel cup prevents this from being any kind of issue. You can buy travel cups for home that will make it much easier to sip at home, too. That’s not to say that with a good mustache wax you can’t keep your mug around, but if you don’t want to have to wax up before your morning cup, just pour it into a lidded travel cup.
None of us want to embarrass ourselves when we’re eating. Even worse, dripping food into your beard just feeds the stereotype people have of beards as messy, nasty, things. Keep on defying expectations with your killer mane by keeping it clean with some of these habits. And as always, beard fierce.