Of Moustaches and Men: an irreverent account
Trip Start Jul 03, 2008
19Trip End Dec 07, 2008
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So life here in ol' Pondi has been good: There are fewer "surprise" government holidays when everything shuts down, the terrorist bombings of Delhi are thankfully unknown to this small town, and everyone in the hostel is doing fabulously. Léo is continuing to teach me Capoeira("Brazilian Dance Fighting"), and classes are going well.
This last weekend I decided to shed some scruffiness and get a haircut, which Lorena graciously provided. It was just as I was about to clear-cut my unkempt beard that I was hit with an interesting idea...
(Disclaimer: I don't hate moustaches
For my readers who haven't set foot in India (more specifically the south of India) you must realize that you have never seen a place with a per-capita moustache population like this. Conservative estimates from the non-stached crowd place the number at 85-95% of all males over the age of 18. It is truly absurd. The roots of this phenomenon lie in two places: the machismo ethic and the worship of movie stars. A huge bushy 'stache is seen as a badge of manliness, to be cultivated and nurtured. This is aided by the fact that almost ALL of the Tamil movie stars are seen sporting this upper-lip decoration. Needless to say those who can't grow a respectable 'stache (such as yours truly) still attempt to, in order to tap into some sort of unspoken testosterone energy force.
Which brings me to my decision. With razor in hand, I decided to take the plunge and make a foray into the Tamilian "boys club" and cut myself a moustache. Having no fear of self-deprecating humor, I knew I could do this without flinching. I just merely wanted it to be a social experiment: Would I be treated differently with one?
Admittedly, my moustache was ugly
Alas, I have shorn my newfound badge of manliness, but my excursion as a legitimate Tamil male was a fun and hilarious venture indeed.
In other news, some friends and myself are planning to go to Goa in the next week or so. Stay tuned!