It is a sad day for Herman Cain.

Every day, these days, is a sad day for Herman Cain, with the exception of the part of the day where he shuts the door and rolls in the large piles of cash he has amassed in the course of his World’s Most Expensive Book Tour.

But today the last great hope of the Cain campaign to be a real contender vanished.

The American Mustache Institute withdrew its ringing endorsement.

If I had to update the adage for our era, I would no longer say “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” These days, if a fat lady is singing, you are probably just at some sort of gala. No. It ain’t over until the American Mustache Institute cuts you loose. That’s the real end of the line.

Consider all the people whom Mustached Americans continue to embrace. Tom Selleck. Wilford Brimley. Jimmy McMillan. You have to go to unheard-of, Mel-Gibson-esque lengths to lose the mustache love. A wise person once wrote that a mustache is a loyal friend that sticks with you through thick and thin, stiffening your upper lip in times of trial. But the American Mustache Institute reports that it has uncovered evidence that Cain’s trademark John-Waters-esque ’stache is not a verifiable lip sweater.

It was one thing when he lost the women. Polls emerged saying that women were never really comfortable with him to begin with. Come to think of it, that may have been the trouble.

He could have been a contender!

But in the course of the past two weeks, Herman Cain underwent an unpleasant but familiar mustached metamorphosis. Last month, he was a cool, eloquent, possibly even electable fellow who just happened to have a mustache. Now he’s just one more iteration of the tired Creepy Smiling Mustached Man Who Has Definitely Been Involved In A Sexual Harassment Case In The Past stereotype.

This was not what Mustached Americans needed. The Institute has been hard at work in the past few years, trying to rehabilitate the noble row of hairs that proudly bestride the upper lips of men and women from all walks of life. Mustaches weren’t just for hipsters and sex offenders! They garnished the lips of proud Americans everywhere! And now Herman Cain goes and undoes all this progress.

So much for a mustached hero for our era, able to stand on par with Robert Goulet and Vintage Trebek. We’re stuck with Mike Ditka and Captain Morgan again.

And it’s a sad day for Herman Cain. When you lose the mustache, you’ve lost the race.