Of Beards and Bristles

From the time I can remember having hair on my chin; I have always sported a goatee with a mustache (or at least tried to). I was trimming it recently when all the comments I have received on it came back as a flashback. Very often have I been complimented on how it enhances my looks. Sometimes it also ends up people calling me ‘oi french-cut‘ or ‘hey frenchie‘(with the pun intended on their part). What really brought a smile on was the fact that a couple of people remember me because of this beard style.

During my work experience as an engineer, I had to frequently negotiate with Korean suppliers. They couldn’t pronounce my name so whenever they came to my section, they would ask anyone with a sweeping gesture over their lips and chin to indicate me. It later became a standard joke in the department to use that gesture for me.

I was once having a flaming-tequila shot with a friend in a pub. The bartender gave me my shot and said – “Bhai sahib, araam se warna dadhi jal jayegi.”(Go easy or your beard might catch fire). It was some time before my friends could stop laughing.

The latest one was from a restaurateur who saw me after at least two and a half years. I used to haunt his joint often in the earlier days, but I wasn’t sure he would recognize me after such a gap. When I walked up to him and asked if he remembered me, he grinned, shook my hand and said -“Amitabh ki dadhi wale khud ko Amitabh samajte hai, par hum to asliyat jaante hai na.”(People sporting Amitabh’s beard might think they are Amitabh, but I know the real person behind it). Old friends remembering you…it feels nice, it always does.

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7 thoughts on “Of Beards and Bristles

  1. The histories of beards and ties have an interesting origin. Both became popular amongst men whenever there was a queen on the throne of England – Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria. The men probably felt inferior that a woman was ruling and hence sported signs of male “superiority”. For some strange reason women, although with longer hair on the head cannot grow facial hair. Wonder what life would have been like if the attributes were reversed within the sexes!

    There are reports that women prefer clean shaven men – they seem to prefer a Chikna to a Caveman.
    It appears that women have struck back by converting their inabilities into strength, by rejecting men who do what they cannot. They have made men gel, wax their chests, shave off the moush and beard and even become fair. Who knows what else these metro-sexuals will have to cut off next?!! Harry Belafonte was right when he crooned Man Smart, Woman Smarter.

    Women may like a chikna in the light but they all secretly prefer a caveman in the dark! The tragedy is that a beard is probably identified with Osama/terrorists and hence has negative connotations. You also get picked out for special screening at airports. Ask me. Imagine if Gandhi had a beard. And no prizes for guessing why a blade/razor company wants clean shaven men. If the majority grew beards, their share price will crash. Also that of shaving cream/gels/lotions/band-aid companies. Beardies contribute to water conservation and are hence more environment-friendly. We also get twenty minutes more to snooze.

    To those who are against beards here is an old Spanish saying – A kiss without a moustache and a beard is like an egg without salt and pepper.

    The tie was another male “sign”. Freud made the statement that the tie was a phallic symbol. The wearing of the increased when women started wearing bustiers during the Victorian age. Men could not compete and the tie was a poor artificial answer! Even the images of Queen Victoria on various Indian coins are differentiated as “young bust” and “mature bust”.

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  2. @Ramaswami – WOW WOW WOW. Your comment seems better than my post. You could have the entire thing as a separate blog, as Ankur put it. And yes, it was humorous as well as enlightening. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Thanks.

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  3. Pingback: The Kettle Water Situation | e-Nagar

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