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Indians (heart) Moustaches

Indians (heart) Moustaches

October 13, 2011

Men in India are macho as hell and they love to show it - normally in the form of facial hair in all shapes and sizes.

I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was sat down at the departure gate in Qatar’s Doha airport patiently waiting to board my first flight to Bangalore and I was passing the time by people watching.  There were women in saris, cute little chubby-cheek Indian children (the cutest kids on the planet) …and a whole lot of men with big, blingy Tom Sellek – circa Magnum P.I.— moustaches waiting with me.  I honestly was in awe of it all.  And as exotic and wonderful as the kids and ladies in saris were to watch, nothing compared to the awe-inspiring Indian men and their moustaches. Man, these guys love their facial hair.  A lot!

In the 70s my dad sported crazy, big moustaches and every once in a while now I catch a glimpse of some random Inidan’s “stache” and it makes me smile and reminds me of my Dad, who I miss very much.  On any given day I will literally see hundreds of examples of the Indian man’s love for their personal grooming in the form of a beard, a goatee, a Fu Manchu or Van Dyke, a soul patch, a moustache, etc.

The "Tom Selleck" certainly represents one grooming style but that is just the tip of the iceberg, I promise you!  The funny thing is that in Europe and the U.S., you rarely see a moustache or beard.  I mean almost never!  Sure the guys there will sport a soul patch or some cool yet very small decorative facial hair, but I personally don’t have a single friend who wears a proper moustache or beard.  In fact, I know only one “friend of a friend” with a beard who I met this summer in Barcelona and happens to live in London.  Yet the men in India have done it all and I have honestly never seen such a passion for facial hair style in any other country like I have here.  Skinny moustaches, rounded corners, thick and full, thinned and short, full beards, guru-style long beards… phewww!  There is something for everyone.  I have even seen big ‘ole handle bar styles like the men wore back in the 70's still alive and kicking in Bangalore.

What I find wild is that it’s not just the older men who grow them out of habit because that’s what was cool when they were young.  Nor is it just the REALLY young teens growing something out because they want to look older now that they hit puberty and can actually prove it.
Men of all ages do it.  From CEOs of major corporations to chefs and drivers.  Big or small, rich or poor, it doesn’t matter.

I had watched enough Bollywood films in the past to know that moustaches were (and are) the bomb in India.  I can't actually recall seeing smooth-faced leading men in Bollywood films.  At least not the older classics I was watching back in Spain.  Even today, almost every single ass-kickin' tough guy on TV or in movies sports a macho moustache or a beard.  In fact, a friend of mine who’s a successful Kanada film actor was the inspiration for this article.  He shoots films almost back-to-back and therefore can never shave off his moustache because the roles he plays all require it.  Personally, I see his moustache as part of his wardrobe!  You know, leather jacket – check.  Black shirt, check.  Snug jeans – check.  Manly moustache – check!  I've watched trailers for a couple of his films and the guy always  looks very bad-ass for the male viewers and very hot for the ladies, sporting a “tough guy” moustache and kickin’ butt.

So what's the deal with facial hair here?  What drives the men of India to bling up their looks like they do?
Well, I asked a few of my buddies with beards and moustaches why they wear them and the most common answer I heard is that from the time they were small that they saw their father, grandfathers and uncles wearing them.  These are the men in their life who they looked up to while they were growing up.  So for my mates it feels natural to grow a moustache or beard because that’s what the men in their family do.  To be honest I only have one friend who sited religious reasons but I assume that is also a top answer for many men.  One friend of mine wears a goatee because he says his chin looks better covered up.  Obviously there are lots of fun reasons to rock facial hair!!!

And the trend doesn’t seem to be fading, not from my perspective at least.

By chance - and not in the spirit of research - I dated a man recently in Bangalore with a moustache.  Before I moved to India I had never actually kissed a man with a strapping moustache before -- at least not that I can recall.  Well, let me tell you, from my recent experience I can hand-on-my-heart say that kissing a man with a moustache isn't much different from kissing a man with a 5 o'clock shadow. On the negative side, they can both be a real pain because they can irritate and turn the soft tender skin on a woman's upper lip (or chin in the case of full stubble) red after a passionate kiss.  On a positive note, I liked the tickly feel of it too.  Although to be clear, he had a nicely trimmed moustache...I'm not sure I'd feel the same about a guy with a huge bushy beard.  But just like there are a gazillion styles of facial hair, there are as many diverse women with varying tastes to love them.

T
here is something about a handsome Indian man sporting some trendy, groomed facial hair that is very sexy to me now, when it never was before. It could be simply because I see it everyday so it's quite commonplace.  But I'll bet the reason is more in line with the way I am typically more attracted to the really dark skinned Indian men.  Simply put...they are different to me and somehow more exotic.

Photo credit
: Shreyans Bhansali 

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