There was a time when men sported facial hair with no irony.
They were real men, handsome men, who didn't care about retro cultural contexts. In the old days, if a man wanted to grow a mustache, he simply grew it. He didn't laughingly try to pass it off as a "'70s porn-star 'stache" or a "trucker handlebar" -- there was no need for tired, self-effacing, postmodern classifications.
Instead, that manly gent wore his intricately groomed mustache (or sideburns, or beard) with pride. And, with the help of some wax prescribed by an equally manly expert barber, he ended up looking good -- damned good.
Guys looked hotter back then, before the metrosexual movement convinced them they had to laboriously shave themselves every day to resemble timid prepubescents.
As evidence, check out My Daguerreotype Boyfriend, a Tumblr blog featuring old-timey tintypes of handsome fellows. (Pictured is U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt as a beefy college lad -- could any of us have guessed that only a century ago, Republicans used to be more sexy than doughy?)
The site also features an image of entertainer Buffalo Bill, but at age 19, he's timidly shaven and not yet very interesting. As time went by, however, Buffalo Bill did grow up to be quite a handsome fellow ... woof!
Brandon's Big Gay Blog