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A Hair-Raising Issue

Facial hair has been at the forefront of men's style for almost two years now, with the beard officially making way for the moustache this month

A Hair-Raising Issue

Fawad Khan had a beard in Khoobsurat; he’s sporting a very fifties style moustache these days. It is, after all, Mo-Vember, a month celebrating the masculine moonch. Movember, in the month of November, is an annual ‘Mo’ growing charity event in support of prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health. And Lo, men have started appearing with fuzzy upper lip growths all over the world. The moustache has always been a flag of male pride in Pakistan but Fawad Khan’s moustache is one of the firsts to be witnessed in the celebrity circuit.

Beards, of course, have been much more visible. Ranveer Singh had a beard in Ram Leela earlier this year and he sacrificed his masculine raunchiness when he traded it for a baby face in Kill Dil. Shahrukh Khan kept his beard intact, even when he pulled on a pink tutu for ballet in Happy New Year. And then there’s that powerful image of Russell Crowe as Noah, sporting the burliest beard ever. Turning back home to Pakistani TV, how manly, menacing and forceful did Faysal Qureshi look as a bearded Bashar Momin? He lost his looks, appeal and his personality when he turned up with sweet cheeks. So, do beards equate directly to masculinity and virility? Oh, absolutely!

Above: Shahrukh Khan's handlebar moustache for Farhan Akhtar's MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination) campaign last year may have been fake but it sent out a very strong message. As far as his films go, we'd say that the moonch in Paheli (left) left a very lasting impression.

Above: Shahrukh Khan’s handlebar moustache for Farhan Akhtar’s MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination) campaign last year may have been fake but it sent out a very strong message. As far as his films go, we’d say that the moonch in Paheli (left) left a very lasting impression.

But beards are caving in to moustaches and one has to say that men today are more comfortable to play around with facial hair than they may have been in the nineties. The clean shaven, jaw line baring man of the metrosexual era has been replaced with a man who isn’t afraid to show his potency, power and masculinity via his beard. Of course, some men are just hiding their double chins under that thick foliage but we’d rather not think about that.

Christopher Waltz, who sported a grizzly beard in Django Unchained, can be seen in a moustache on the cover of this month’s Fantastic Men. Brad Pitt turned up in a moustache for the London premiere of Fury. The ‘tache is the new symbol of debonair and if it reminds you of Clark Gable from Gone With the Wind then your thoughts are leading you in the right direction.

“Like the beard, the moustache has finally been rehabilitated,” Lee Kynaston writes in The Telegraph. “In fact, a survey conducted by dating site MySingleFriend last year even suggested women thought moustaches made men look more fun, rugged and outdoorsy. ‘They used to have negative connotations with retro 1970s parties and gangster movies, but that time has now passed,’ says Brendan Murdock (of successful chain of Barber shops, Murdock London) reassuringly. ‘The guy with a moustache today is often wearing it with really well cut, tailored clothes and it’s there as an accessory to complete a look.’

“The moustache is to a man’s face what a flash of red lipstick is to a woman’s,” Kynaston continues. “It’s an eye-catching device that instantly gets you noticed and draws attention to the most sensual part of your body.”

Month of the moustache: Brad Pitt recently made a 'tache statement on the red carpet, at the London premiere of Fury while Christopher Waltz wears a moustache on the cover of Fantastic Men this month.

Month of the moustache: Brad Pitt recently made a ‘tache statement on the red carpet, at the London premiere of Fury while Christopher Waltz wears a moustache on the cover of Fantastic Men this month.

It’s time for the image of the ‘tache to change in Pakistan too. The beard was once only associated with the religious, the extremists and then most visibly the Taliban, but then it was gradually adapted within all strata of society as a fashion statement. A similar change of heart can be expected for the moustache, formerly a symbol of the military, older men and fashion has-beens. We’d rather steer clear of the Gullu Butt variety but General Raheel Sharif’s moustache has been the valiant talk of the town and who knows, he could be starting a trend here. After all, as they say in Punjabi, “moonch nahin, toh kooch nahin” (A man is nothing without a moustache!”

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