Adult hipsterhood in Utah and the curse of the fingerstache tattoo. | News | Salt Lake City Weekly

Adult hipsterhood in Utah and the curse of the fingerstache tattoo. 

Small Lake City

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"Movember" is an annual November event wherein men grow mustaches in order to raise awareness of male health issues like testicular cancer, prostate cancer and suicide. It's meant to remind men to get a medical check-up and prevent avoidable illness and death.

As a fashion statement for good, it's right up there with Barbiecore (admit it: "Hellscape Summer 2023" was way more tolerable with all that pink). But, there was a time when the mustache was a force of evil in Salt Lake City. OK, maybe not "evil," but certainly "aggressive hipsterism."

In 2003, back when I could call someone a "hipster" without being charged with a hate crime, "fingerstache" sightings in local clubs, coffee shops and microbreweries were on a frightening uptick.

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If you're lucky enough to be unaware of the "fingerstache," it's just what it sounds like: a small mustache tattooed on the index finger, which could then be held to the upper lip, creating the illusion of facial hair. Pretenders went with a temporary tattoo; the truly committed took the needle.

You're maybe thinking, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of." And you're right. The ironic mustache trend of the early 2000s—which still persists today—was dismissable, but this micro-tattoo iteration was as annoying as the proliferation of Yacht Rock fever (which was a whole other thing).

Men and women alike thought the fingerstache was the height of sardonic hilarity. You couldn't toss a PBR can at a Futureheads show without hitting some mullethead in a ski cap and Hawaiian shirt throwing 'stache signs. I'd say tattoo artists must have been laughing all the way to the bank, but how much money could they have been making off of those tiny splashes of ink? Probably a quantity game.

Anyway—what became of the fingerstached youths of the '00s? Are they now knocking on the door of middle age with a seemed-funny-at-the-time tattoo on their finger? Their child asking, "Mom, what's that?" To which she replies, "Well, Avril, things happen when you chase Goldschläger with Four Loko in a 7-Eleven parking lot at 3 a.m. Someday, you and your brother Lil Jon will have regrets, too."

The repercussions of the fingerstache tattoo will be felt for decades. Years from now, you'll see this commercial on TV between Simpsons reruns and Ozempic ads: "If you fell victim to the fingerstache trend between 2003 and 2005, you may be entitled to compensation. But, if you got a fingerstache tattoo after 2005, that's on you. Our personal idiocy attorneys are standing by."

Small Lake City is home to local writers and their opinions.

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