Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why Indian Females Prefer Men without Moustaches

Why Indian Females Prefer Men without Moustaches
Syed Ali Mujtaba

Remember, if you like to kiss your girlfriend then first thing you got to do is to shave your moustaches. The hairs above your lips may epitomize a macho persona but it does not appeal the Indian females. Most Indian females like their men clean-shaven.

The mustaches may no way come in way of lip locking, but then females have their own preferences to mooch. A survey found though 36% of men nationwide sport moustaches, but 27% of women find that style of facial hair old-fashioned.

A survey conducted by AC Nielsen with more than 1,000 men and women in eight Indian cities revealed while Indian men love their mustache, women in urban India prefer clean shaven men.

Women in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore and Patna have spoken on how they prefer their men. A whopping 72% women respondent in Mumbai and an even greater 83% of female respondents in Chennai are more likely to kiss a shaved man. The majority of respondents in Delhi and Kolkata concur with this idea.

However, women don’t seem to mind stubble. In Mumbai, 64% of women say stubble increases the sex appeal of a man, revealed the survey.

As far as shaving is concerned though 90% men prefer to be clean-shaven, only 55% actually shave. A greater number of men in Mumbai (72%), Delhi (82%) and Ahmedabad (79%) shave than in other cities.

The most quoted reason for shaving in urban India is that the face looks clean. However in Chennai, as many as 56% men have a moustache. Men in Chennai and Bangalore say moustaches looks well on them. South Indian customs makes it mandatory to sport moustaches till the persons father is alive and can be shaven only once he is no more.

Indians’ shaving frequency is less than thrice a week. While the average shaving time is between six and 15 minutes, men in Chennai and Bangalore are the slowest shavers, taking at least 30 minutes while those in Lucknow finish the same job in 25 minutes.

The frequent shaver also has his reasons. In Delhi, Chennai and Ahmedabad, men shave to look younger; in Lucknow and Patna men do so for good hygiene. Gujaratis and Tamils do it to fit in with their peers.

More men in Ahmedabad and Bangalore cut themselves each time they shave, majority of men in Mumbai and Kolkata do not hurt them while shaving.

Across Asia, men and women frown on the full-bearded look. Indian and men favor moustaches and stubble, but the most desired style in India is the clean-shaven look or a goatee.

Historically the handlebar moustache has been part of Indian culture. Before the 18th century, when the caste system was prevalent in India, only high caste men were allowed to keep moustaches. Lower caste men were either clean shaven sported a beard.

During the period from 1850 to 1950, men kept moustaches as a symbol of power and to display of their robust personality. During the 1930s, Mahatma Gandhi's Swadeshi Movement against British rulers advised Indians to have beards so that imported shavers and blades could be stopped.

As a college student at AMU, Aligarh I have seen its Chancellor Nawab of Chattrari, the first Indian to be Governor of the United Provinces and the Prime Minister of erstwhile Hyderabad princely state, with his majestic grey mustaches that covered half his face. His grand mustaches provided an aura to his personality and remained unparallel in those times.

A book "Hair India - A Guide to the Bizarre Beards and Magnificent Moustaches of Hindustan" says that India's extravagant beards and moustaches - proudly sported by generations of Indian men - are being trimmed as the country becomes more clean-shaven and urban.

Its author Richard McCallum says that clean chins are becoming more commonplace among younger people who no longer have role models sporting beards or moustaches.

He points out most well-known Indian cricket players no longer have facial hair, while many in Bollywood have opted instead for token designer stubble.

The book categorizes beards according to bristle-design. There is the "the chin strap", "the soup strainer", "the wing commander" and "the walrus".
'Out of favour'

What is claimed to be the world's longest beard, measuring 1.6 meters (five ft) and the world's longest moustache also feature in the book.

But the emphasis is on ordinary stall-owners and rickshaw drivers displaying moustaches and beards that are cut, dyed, waxed and preened in various shapes and sizes. One of the few professions where it remains a mandatory requirement is among doormen of five-star hotels.

The book says beards and moustaches tell the story of modern India - how it is becoming a more westernized, homogenised place, but also how the great traditions and the love of display still exist.

In spite the fact that that clean-shaven men stand to score more then who sport a mustache, eighty percent of south Indian men prefer to sport moustaches while their counter parts in north India refer to be clean shaven.

There is no doubt that trend of keeping moustaches is on decline in India but its more to do with hygiene and cleanliness than to pander to the preferences of the women folk. Majority of those in teen and twenties prefer to sport moustaches but as they add on to years may like to shave it off. Its individual choice and that’s hard to generalize.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a working journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

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