I have been fascinated by the way a man can try to look different in terms of physical appearance. Women being grossly having the lions’ share in pruning up looks, there is very little men can do to groom and appear masculine without getting too metrosexual. No, by masculine I‘m not meaning the macho types. Fans of WWF of the yesteryears, do you remember one random WWF guy called “The Macho Man”!
And hirsute facial architecture, like so many other things comes in different shapes and sizes and densities! There is this Chinese mush with a barren bridge in the centre and with grass meandering towards the sides, you should watch these shaolin series of movies. The tuft is another thing, we ll restrict it to facial hair designs.
Take from recent, recorded history, men with beards have always had a charm, an elegance that their otherwise clean shaven faces would not have endowed them with. An Ab Lincoln or a Steve Jobs without their characteristic beards would ve looked like a poor cousin. There are notable men who come to mind, Shakespeare, Rabindranath Tagore, Jaggi Vasudev, Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Daniel Vettori, Ahh Thiruvalluvar, how can we forget our desi dude, with siram, karam puram neettadeer (you find this right behind the drivers seat facing the passengers in MTC buses) been mistaken for his verses.
There are some absolute spoilers like actor manivannan, THE ONE AND ONLY TR, any other actor in India for that matter. Aamir Khan too looked like someone affected by a bout of fever, what s that movie Gulaam I think.. Farhan looks cool in his BMB avatar. Hope you get the flavour when I say who look good and who does n’t among these fellows. Shahrukh is another tragedy behind a non existent facade of facial hair.
No, the moustachioed do not join this party, ie., the Air India Sardar mascot with only the mush does not count. I wonder why the Sardarjis had not created a stir saying that man does not have a beard. Talking of Sardars, they are integral part when you are on this topic. Harbajan does not have one and still looks bad, Sidhu looks better, more because he wears more colourful clothes with matching kerchiefs and tie I suppose. He has that probing look in his eyes owing to his watching the ball? No his eyes look more like a student who wants to copy from his neighbour in an exam who is not being too helpful. There has been Jaspal Bhatti, Jail Singh etc. but just the honorary credit to them because we are treading in their territory. These guys don’t score so well on the beard count.
Getting back to moustaches, which is quite not the topic but to define the topic clearly one needs to weed out what appears to be the fringes! Moustaches, the normal ones just flowing upto the side of the lips, rolled up ones like Bharathiar’s (the ones found in text books) not the real photos where he has a beard too. Be it Saami Vikram or Singam Surya are drab ones. Arvind Swami sports a better one mush or beard, does skin tone or complexion help, I don’t think so too much, apart from the contrasting colours of the skin and hair helping the appearance.
Let me get one more thing straight, french beards, other designer ones, side burns in the same breadth extending upto the chin and moving around the mouth to make an island around the mouth quite does not count as a beard for our discussion though there is quite some effort involved in this type of Anglo Saxon architecture!
A societal view, good or bad in sporting a beard is often linked to religious affinities or even to sexual orientation! Oh God! Ah talking of Gods, how can we leave Jesus, let it be the old tamil movie which they used to telecast in doordarshan on good Friday or other pictures that we have seen of Jesus. If I think of Lord Rama, the face of Arun Govil only comes to my mind. And to associate with God a physical identity is needed, atleast for me. How much and what it means in my life is a different question altogether. We all have only seen Gods in pictures havent we, I for one have nt had my enlightenment yet..
Getting back to the point, the ancillary benefits of sporting a beard is that it makes you look like a nerd, the journo-NGO with a jolna bag and cotton kurta makes perfect combo, added with a beard you complete the sequence. Its easy to give a thoughtful pose with a beard, but the downside is it itches, that too big time in summer. If not nothing it just sweats and you feel like scratching, but if you have to, make it graceful as if you are lost in thought and are trying to catch a bubble of thought that just burst into oblivion. Don’t make the irritation obvious. But a good trimmed one is fair enough and does not need great levels of tolerance to show a more masculine side of yourself. But bro, if it suits you sport one, else people will ask if you are not feeling well.. or worse off whether some relative has passed away!
Ah.. how can we forget love failure and the consequent beard. Let me clarify a point which movies from time of Devadas to Dev D (Is Vaazhve mayam the tamil version??) have shown but failed to explain, what has love failure and being sick got to do with beard. It has been common societal notion to sport a beard or atleast a stub if you are going back to work after a week of illness. The logic behind this is that you were so down with your health that looking fresh with a clean shave was not on your agenda. Ditto for kadal tholvi. Someone is so distraught that his loved one has gone for good that he no more cares how he looks.
Getting back to big spoilers, the Bharathiraja movie where the blind hero sings and Radha dances till both of them die and fell down, he is a damp squib. Narendra modi – hmm don’t think it adds any charm to him. He might probably look more friendly without one.There is one tamil cinema villain who is a motta bossbut has a beard, that’s a deadly combination. These are some one who do not have side burns continuing into beards but suddenly unlike the origin of a river which you cannot fathom, this beard abruptly springs out from the face in front of the ears with no forest cover above.
Mind you it’s a tricky situation, a beard can make or mar a look, someone known for his high sexiness quotient such as Bad Pitt looks like a beggar in his latest movie with a long beard on..
An interesting health tidbit I stumbled upon somewhere, that having a beard helps one stay younger as it protects the skin from the UV rays and hence delays aging.
The women out there, there is a huge secret – If a man looks good in a beard he is the one with looks which would kill, with or without them.There are some for whom the beard rather grows haphazardly, leaving certain barren tracts on the face, forming a natural pattern and not evenly around the cheeks and chin. But in the land of metrosexual, clean-shaven Salman Khans, this is really quite old world stuff, but check out for Ranveer Singh & Farhan, gillette does not look like the best a man needs to get!