The Navy is synonymous with one thing and one thing alone: the cheesy mustache.

And while not every sailor rocks a fuzzy little lip toupée, those who do have given the seafaring service its reputation for silly facial hair. What’s most impressive, perhaps, is the common sailor’s resolve to sport a mustache, even if he can’t grow one, boasting near-invisible or blonde hair. It’s fitting, though, that the whiskers more commonly referred to as a “crustache” are sported by salty sailors — the crustiest of all service members.

Maintaining a distinguished, pencil-thin dirt line over the lip is an art form. And with “Mustache March” just around the corner, here’s how you can grow your own, Navy style, according to a handful of wizened sailors polled on Twitter.

1. Determine how far away from the corners of your mouth you can feasibly get away with growing your whiskers. Regulations say it can’t go “more than 1/4 inch beyond a vertical line drawn from the corner of the mouth.” We say push the envelope. If you can manage to curl the ends as fiercely as Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting (Daniel Day Lewis) of “Gangs of New York” without being written up, more power to you.

2. Rock it, no matter how it bad looks. A good mustache isn’t defined by its fullness or shapeliness. It comes down to attitude. As Gandhi (probably) said, “Be the mustache you wish to see in the world.”

3. While curled ends are desirable regardless of regulations, letting scraggly hairs cross the threshold of your upper lip is not encouraged. First, it’s not in regs. Second, it’s gross. Allowing your mustache to eat your lip is not acceptable.

4. Try becoming a warrant officer. The mustache basically comes with the job and a bad attitude. We can guarantee your snarl will be accentuated by your facial hair.

5. Discard any semblance of shame. There is no room for vanity above your upper lip when you have a glorious ‘stache growing there.

Forged by the sea, forged by the ‘stache.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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