To be or not to be …


A quick look at a catalogue or a browse through one of the high end stores will tell you one thing – to be more of a man, or, less of a man is really what the fashion question is all about. The options are endless and confusing – Hair or No Hair? Young Looking or Natural?  And on and on.

So leaving my macho pride in the closest dust bin, and brushing aside the age old perception that only women need to look good, I began my makeover journey in the usual place – in front of a mirror.

To begin with, the mirror didn’t crack, which is a good sign in a situation like this. Nor did it speak, which is what I thought it would, when I started posing all sorts of questions to it. But this wasn’t a fairytale. So after running my fingers through the hair on my head, and the hair on my chest, (thankfully I don’t have hair on my ears) the only indication I got from the unresponsive mirror was to make discreet queries with my friends and make some astute observations from the people around me. The objective behind this exercise of course, was to be a hit with the women.

So I began looking at all the men rather closely. The easy part was flipping through the magazines and getting an idea of what the fashion icons were up to. The difficult part was when I came face to face with them. Some laughed at my curiosity, others misunderstood my intentions, and then a third lot thought I was making a pass at them. Back home after my preliminary research, I nursed a black eye, a result of one such misunderstanding which I’d rather not talk about.

Armed with a basket of men’s products, I landed up in front of the mirror again.  The hair gel came on, the creams and lotions were slapped on, some pores were opened, others closed, my under eye zone looked baby fresh. From behind the mask, a new me emerged. I felt proud and uninhibited. As I looked at myself with admiration, my hand slid to my chest and the hair question popped up again, “Should this go too?”

A quick reference to my research suggested that it should. The final frontier, the ultimate symbol of manhood was about to be sacrificed at the altar of fashion and being “with it”.

With great trepidation and a generous dose of embarrassment I walked into a beauty parlour to have it removed. The good news was I saw other men too. The bad news was that they use wax. And the worst news was the pain. I had to muzzle my mouth to prevent the screams from being heard by the others. (Oh man, how do the women do this week after week?) Wiping the tears from my eyes, I staggered out.

My shirt unbuttoned, my hair coiffed, my skin like morning dew, the new me has been on display for a week now. And I’m still waiting for the queues of love struck women to form outside my front door. But as my friend says, “No pain, no gain”. I hope he is right.

Style Speak Magazine

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