|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 75, Tuesday, July 7, 2009|
Where have all the men gone?
There were times when only women were expected to take long glances at the mirror, making sure they looked just right. It was also acceptable for them to be fashionably late.
Well, today the tables have turned. Men too take their time before the mirror. They are often a few minutes late, but arrive just as fashionably as the womenfolk, charmingly smart and well groomed.
Whether you are for or against it, it's hard to deny the growing sense of good grooming in the modern, urban man. Thanks to the many salons that cater to the needs of the aesthetically aware man, the women no longer have to be wary of the unkempt hair and scruffy beard, or the many chipped nails.
The image of the well-educated, bachelor in the big city with a disposable income comes with the promise of good grooming and a chic appearance. On a quest to discover the grooming secrets of the metro sexual man, the names in the likes of Sicily, Persona Adam's, Face Wash, Men's Look, Biotique, Hairobics, Total Care Salon, Ban Thai, Habib at Persona, and Men's Planet come up frequently.
They offer something for every man's hair and facial needs. Starting from the basic shave to hair cuts that go from traditional to the funkier, edgier styles, to the latest trends in hair colour, hair treatments, facial treatments, shampoo and hair styling, even unwanted body hair removal by waxing - there's something to cater to every need.
Some of these shops such as Face Wash also provide more unconventional services such as tattooing, both temporary and permanent, and body and facial piercings. The well-decorated interiors of these salons provide a nice and relaxing ambience that sooth the customers while they get their appearances fine-tuned.
The facial treatments and hair care treatments are among the most popular services offered in the salons, apart from the haircuts and shaves. These days, the latest trend in hair fashion is hair colour, which more and more men are getting into. Habib's at Persona, specialise in hair colouring, be it a few streaks of blonde or something bolder. They are sure to make your look work and give your image an extra boost.
Piercing is also one of their services that has become rather popular among the younger crowd. Everything from eyebrows to lip, tongue or anywhere else for that matter can be pierced here and done so safely and hygienically.
The salons offer more advanced beauty treatments for men such as fairness treatments like bleaching, which are apparently not so harmful. There are anti-aging treatments and treatments to give you clear, blemish-free skin like the “galvanic facial.”
Another very popular hair treatment, which is all the rage among young men is hair re-bonding that leaves your hair straight and shiny as razor blades. Some of the salons even provide “Groom's Package”, which is the equivalent of bridal grooming packages available at women's salons and includes everything from body massages to manicures, facials and bleach therapy.
Some of the salons such as Persona even offer beauty consultants for those who seek professional beauty advice.
One can see men of all ages coming to these salons, of them the biggest chunk are executives who care about presenting a well-polished appearance. There are students and older men as well who are slowly taking to this trend of being pampered and well groomed.
Some say it's the overwhelming influence of the western media, some say it's male vanity and is just a phase that has caught on. Or maybe, they just like having the opportunity to take time out of the day to be pampered and taken care of, which was chiefly a luxury reserved for women until now.
Whatever it is, more and more men are becoming aware of their appearances and how to build an image out of their god-given attributes, and women, it seems, do not mind sharing the mirror with their equally image conscious men.
By Farah Tarannum
On The Cover
With the threat of an eminent flood, we remain vigilant of what may be tough times ahead. Seemingly, as a nation, we have bowed down to the fiery wrath of nature. Gone are the times when the changing season brought glad tidings of changing times.
"You know, this is a common problem in our country,” she said- otherwise nice and friendly with the students- while giving me a scathing lecture that is still fresh in the mind.
“Everyone wants to get higher by pushing someone else down.” My teacher then told me that whatever laugh or “reputation brownie points” I was getting by needlessly making fun of another person, it was more than cancelled out by the fact that the person in question would not fight back. That, she said, was the act of a coward.
As I grew up, I realised more and more the truth in those words. Leave aside the perennial slandering of opponents that is a staple of political discourse in this country; the tendency to assume higher status by belittling others seems to be a pervasively national quality. The extent of it did not occur to me until two years ago when I was standing in front of one of the buildings of my university, where I witnessed an ugly scene.
A private car driver was turning his car around in the narrow alley, and in his effort to do so, was responsible for a part of his car making contact with a student's body. The contact was not hard; it was merely a gentle push.
The next thing that happened was right out of a Hindi film. The student, a male in his twenties who had been amicably chatting with his girlfriend till now, swirled around furiously and pulled the driver out of the car by his collars, and then proceeded to slap, kick, and punch the driver repeatedly before his friends pulled him back. He left the bleeding driver on the sidewalk, and went to be consoled and calmed down by his girlfriend. There was not a scratch on him. It is not just in my university; look around and observe how we treat beggars, rickshaw-pullers and street children.
Maybe it is time for all of us to take a look at ourselves and see if the delusion the student in my university was suffering from is also a part of us. We can only move upward if all of us rise, not if just the more privileged among us stand on the shoulders of the many more that are not so fortunate.
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