Blaine Taylor loses the 'stache

What a horrible day for Blaine Taylor's mustache. And, therefore, the world.

Yes, Taylor -- the gruff, rumpled head coach of the Old Dominion Monarchs -- made a rather drastic decision Thursday. After almost three decades of unbridled awesomeness, Taylor suddenly decided to shave his mustache, revealing his upper lip for the first time since his playing days at Montana in the late 1970s:

"I'd been contemplating it for a few years, just kind of cutting it off," he said Thursday.

Taylor did so unannounced, stunning his four adult daughters who had never seen their father clean-shaven.

It brought an end to the reign of one of college basketball's -- and Hampton Roads' -- finest examples of a dying art form. The mustache is not nearly as popular as it was when Taylor was growing up, with Burt Reynolds ruling the silver screen and Mark Spitz the Olympic pool.

Virginian-Pilot writer Ed Miller is right: The mustache is not nearly as popular as it once was. Today, the mustache is primarily used by winking hipsters for those special times when a vintage Thundercats T-shirt, faded denim jacket and British Knights aren't enough to emphasize just how totally zany their personal brands really are. In 2011, despite the brave attempts of Pawnee director of "Parks and Recreation" Ron Swanson, the mustache has yet to lose its craven hipster tinge. (There's nothing like wearing irony on your face.)

Which is why it's so hard to hear this news about Taylor's decision. There was nothing ironic at work there; that was just a good, old-fashioned, proud piece of American facial hair. And so we bid farewell. I close my eyes ... only for a moment and the moment's gone ...