Movember: The month the men grew a face

It is a universally accepted fact that most Indian men have moustaches. The thick lush growth will grace the face of even the scrawniest of men. It’s the essence of mardangi (manliness or virility) and shaan (glory) of an Indian man. However, I grew up in a household full of men that barely had a moustache! My father had a pencil-line moustache as did his two brothers.

One of my earliest memories is that of my dad trimming his moustache. He stood at the sink, the shaving foam on his face, making funny faces he went for the little nooks and crannies. I remember the time it took him to clip and trip that thin strip of hair. I sat in a chair gazing up at him while he performed this delicate and sometimes intricate ritual.

His sister’s husband also had a moustache, a little bit bigger than a pencil line. My grandfather was clean-shaved. I had no male cousins on my father’s side. My cousins on my mother’s side barely had any moustaches among them. At most, a modest growth that did not cover up their upper lip – just the space between the upper lip and nose . None of the thick caterpillar-like growth that usually depicts an Indian’s face.  Neither did their dads, my uncles or my maternal grandfather.

Somehow, facial hair is a huge turnoff for me. As I read what I wrote above, I realize that this perhaps might be the reason why.

So its completely unreasonable that the first man I fell in love with, had a full, thick moustache as only an Indian army officer can have. By the time he had finished high-school, he already had that moustache that he carries till today. Not that he needed to hide his lips. They were beautiful. But I can’t visualize his face without that moustache. The first time we kissed – and it was my first – I got a mouthful of moustache. But we soon learnt how to approach that activity. And that moustache became an intrinsic part of how I thought of him.
In India, as in all parts of the world, there are different moustaches, and each has its own connotations and overt meanings. There’s the thick caterpillar, the pencil-line, the handlebars, the walrus, oh.. I think there are as many as people can dream up.

But kissing a man with a moustache is not necessarily a bad thing. I know it can be a turn-off for some women. But a few days growth of beard can add a certain je nais se quoi to the fun factor sometimes! I think some of you ladies know what I mean. I mean, why else would there be so many men in the world that do carry facial hair and have ladies who love them? Simple. They LIKE that facial hair and how it feels.

Last year this time, I was on a work trip for two weeks with a bunch of folks in a foreign land. Some of my colleagues were clean shaven and some had goatees. So they all decided in a spirit of solidarity to grow some facial hair. It was funny to watch them day after day. One of them could barely grow any hair. And the others were growing them really nicely. But once that hair grew out, their personalities also seemed to be affected by that radical change in their look. Most women know that putting on make-up is like putting on a new character. These guys seemed to find it too – some of their inhibitions seemed to go away, and make them slightly different – in a very interesting way! Of course, being the only woman in the group, I could not join them in their facial hair contest. But I got to judge – hee!! hee!!!!

It was also at this time that I found the word ‘Movember’.  Check out the meaning of the word at I did not realize that in the month of November, men grow moustaches and/or have Mohawk hair cuts – all in an effort to raise money for prostate cancer research and awareness about the disease. Much like the pink-ribbon month of October. All monies raised by sponsoring the men – go towards this noble cause. This movement was started in Australia and has since spread to a number of different countries including the US and Canada.

So, ladies, maybe for one month, you could afford to let that man in your life grow that moustache or Mohawk. After all, think about when he gets to shave it off!

As for my colleagues, most of their wives didn’t like it – except for one – as I had correctly predicted.

And as for me? I never ever dated guys with facial hair after that. Facial hair does not suit me.
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