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 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. But as exotic and wonderful as the ladies in saris were, 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 had 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 sol patch, a moustache, etc.
Tom Selleck certainly represents one style here but, my friends, that is just the tip of the iceberg …I promise you! In Europe and the U.S., the moustache is rarely seen, I mean almost never. Sure the guys will sport a sol patch or some cool yet very small decorative facial hair, but I personally don’t have a single friend who wears one, and I don’t remember seeing a “friend of a friend” with one either. But the men here 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 in India. Skinny moustaches, rounded corners, thick and full, thinned and short, full beards, guru-style long beards… there is something for everyone here. I have even seen big ‘ole handle bar styles like the Village People in the 70s wore since setting foot in Bangalore. And the wild thing is that it’s not just the older men who grow them out of habit because that’s what was cool when they were younger. Nor is it just the REALLY young teens who want to look older now that they hit puberty and can 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’ve asked my friends with beards and moustaches why they wear them and the most common answer I hear is that from the time they were small they saw their father, grandfathers and uncles wearing them, the men who they looked up to while they were growing up. So for them it feels natural to wear one because that’s what the men in their family do. To be honest I haven’t heard anyone say that it is for religious reasons here but I assume that is also a top answer for some men. I remember a friend of mine back home wore a goatee because he said his chin looked better covered up, haha …so there you go. Lots of fun reasons to rock facial hair!
And the trend doesn’t seem to be fading, not from my perspective at least.
I’ve watched enough Bollywood films in the past to know that moustaches are the bomb in India. In fact, I don’t think I can actually recall seeing many smooth-faced leading men in Bollywood films…at least not the older classics I was watching back in Spain. And every single tough guy on TV or in Indian films has a moustache or a beard. In fact, my friend Aditya, a Kannada film actor and leading man in films like the Deadly Soma franchise was the inspiration for today’s blog post. Yesterday he told me that he never shaves off his moustache because basically every part he reads for calls for it. Personally, I see it almost as part of the wardrobe! You know, leather jacket – check. Black shirt and jeans – check. Manly moustache – check. Today I asked him to send me a video clip of something he has done and it was PERFECT. Aditya looks very bad-ass for the guys and very hot for the ladies, sporting a “tough guy” moustache and kickin’ ass in Deadly 2, you should check him out (he’s the guy in all black): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP479AxL_dw
You know what I don’t see though, are those little (or big) moustache combs my dad used to carry around with him. How are all these gents keeping themselves perfectly groomed? They must be around, they’ve gotta be around, right? Hmmm… will have to investigate that 🙂
To close the topic, I’ve been sitting here wracking my brain but I honestly don’t think I have kissed a man with a strapping moustache before. My ex-husband had a goatee, so that’s covered, but I wonder what it’s like kissing a man with a ‘stache?? Is it better somehow? Or a real pain because it irritates the skin and turns your upper lip red after a passionate kiss? Hmmmm…I should have asked my girlfriends here about this topic before sitting down to write but I guess we’ll have to leave that for part two and make this blog post the first in a series!!
XOXO from Bangalore
© Angela Carson and Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore blog and photos, 2011