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Humour with a T

It's ok to be clothes-minded --- Kenneth Cole There are probably a gazillion ways to express ourselves. Yet we generally just love to express ourselves through pain (wait I'm getting to it) or through some act of violence or misdemeanour. Hey if it wasn't for these methods of expression, tattoo parlours and the spray paint industry would probably have been out of business by now. But there are other, more forceful but simpler ways to express oneself and one of them has become quite popular with Bangladeshi youngsters these days. It's quite amusing to see that after decades of screaming through tattoo sessions or hearing someone else claim your graffiti, expressing yourself could be that easy: through T-shirts.

Two years of fashion school have ingrained themselves in me. So the fact that I always inadvertently look at what someone's wearing, has made me spot this new T-shirt trend. Tired of your? Tired of someone else's life? Having you-know-what rated thoughts? Want to show you're a leftist? There's a tee for it all. Some use graphic visuals to convey what we'd like to assume is your thought or opinion. Other tees are more direct. After all why create confusion when you can say exactly what you want by simply using words?

Humour T-shirts (as I've often heard them being nicknamed) are a cheap, temporary, pain-free and violence-free ticket to expressing exactly what you want, and often an easy way to get away with saying the most outrageous things. Generally created on men's size T-shirts, girls and boys alike have been seen around town wearing them. Sold at various clothing stores, New Market and street stalls, these T-shirts say anything from how you feel about the size of your rather large nose to your opinions on the Bush-regime.

For those unsatisfied with the collection available in Bangladesh, if you know someone who's visiting Thailand, ask them to check out the Thai street vendors for you. These guys have an unthought-of collection of Humour Tees and they are generally dirt cheap to buy. And if you want a little designer flair to go with your words of wit, check out Kenneth Cole. I personally love this guy cause he says the most outrageous things on his clothing and gets away with it, probably because he's Kenneth Cole. My first Humour Tee was a Cole that said: Our search for intelligent life continues. It's called an election.

Humour Tees are also a sure way to get noticed- by anyone and everyone. What sort of attention you want to attract depends on what you're trying to say. So if you want to attract the ladies, I probably wouldn't go with the word “Bootylicious” emblazoned across your chest!

The people I personally know and saw wearing Humour Tees, I didn't ask about because their T-shirts said it all. The detailed explanation was bound to be more graphic than the words on the Tee!

While I personally don't believe in swaying with the trend but rather doing your own thing, Humour Tees have been in fashion for decades- (Bangladesh has just caught on)- and sporting one ever so often will give people a sense of your personal style and individualism. So the next time you want o express something, don't get a tattoo or deface public property, say it with a Tee.

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob

Beard Mania: A vain attempt to prove your manhood?

A friend of mine almost stopped talking to me because I hurt his feelings. You see, he's obsessed with growing a beard, and was ecstatic when two hairs came out of his chin, but then he fumed for ages after I made fun of his precious 'beard'.

But it's not just him; almost all guys are obsessed with their beards. From the time they barely turn teenagers, they are constantly locked up in the bathroom for hours, lathering shaving cream over their completely hairless chins, shaving meticulously and praying to God that at least two to three tiny hairs will show up the next day.

But what is the reason for this fanatical desire to have facial hair? I started asking a few people this question, and the responses I got were either weird or downright stupid. One such answer was, “because beards increase my 'mood'. Guys without beards are soooo girly, I have one so I'm a man.” Right, so the fact that you screamed your lungs out in class because you saw a spider has no effect on your manhood, but a few scraggly hairs sticking out of your chin proves that you are a man. Makes sense.

Another response I got from a guy with a goatee was because keeping a beard is “punk rock,” and yet another guy with a French beard told me it was “hip hop”. So which is it? Because I always figured you actually have to get up on stage and test your vocal cords to be the above mentioned things, not walk around trying to look like Craig David or Shaggy (you know, from Scooby Doo). One of my closest friends gave me the most honest version of why he always has these uneven, spikes of hair sticking out of half his face most of the time. You see, his mother always wanted a daughter, so when he was a kid she made him wear a fluffy, pink frock. At one time, he really started to enjoy wearing that and hence a lot of questions about his gender started to spring up in his mind. So when a few hairs started to grow on his face, he finally realised he was a boy and hence the beard, to remind his mother of that doubtless (ahem!) fact as well.

But what most guys do admit is that they are just too lazy to shave regularly, so they would much rather walk around looking like they have algae or bacteria growing on their face. Plus, all parents hate growing beards, so if you have one it's a sign of rebellion and maturity.

But don't get me wrong, I have nothing against beards. It's just that not everyone looks good with the different types of beards. Freud could pull off the full bearded “Professor” look because the guy was a genius. Che Guevera could have a beard because he was a real rebel; he couldn't shave because he was too busy carrying out revolutions. Johnny Depp can have any beard that he wants because he's one of the most gorgeous creatures that ever walked upon this earth. But for most guys, a small patch on their chins is the limit, and the other crazy styles should be gotten rid of immediately. I've seen beards that were coloured blue (that was scary), I've seen thin goatees that were styled with a curler, heck I've even seen one beard made stiff and pointed like a sword, with gel! Although I guess I can understand the reason for that, when you get your arms tied down by muggers, you can always use that beard to fight them off! But the worst part of it is definitely the mustaches. Seriously, I don't know how guys don't get scared when they look at their reflections in the mirror. If I woke up one morning and saw something that looked like a dead, hairy mouse under my nose, I would freak out!

Then again, there are a few advantages of maintaining a beard. All that mucus and other hidden treasures in your nose can always get lost in that thick, bushy moustache of yours. The stubbles of hair growing on your face can be used to scratch yourself when you're feeling too lazy to use your hands, and if you have a longer beard, then there are the double advantages of using it as a bib or napkin at the dinner table and then flossing with it later on. In fact, you can be sure of retaining a lot of your dinner in the depths of that beard, so you can always pick something out from it when you're feeling hungry again! And then there is the most common and most important use of the beard, which is to hide those beautiful, feminine features that people can't help noticing. We understand guys, we really do.

By Shuprova Tasneem

Book review

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Last week, we kicked off the countdown to the highly anticipated seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series. For those just tuning in, or whatever it is that you call the print equivalent for tuning into a radio show, we'll be looking at the six books that enchanted Muggles all over the world for almost a decade now.

The Chamber of Secrets takes off where the Philosopher's Stone left off, and Harry is about to begin his second term at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While he's really looking forward to the respite from the Dursleys, with whom he's spent the eleven miserable years of his life, there's a rather melodramatic character named Dobby, a house elf, who mysteriously Apparates into his life, and tries to prevent him from going back to school, because his life is apparently in danger.

When there is a will, though, there is a way, and the Weasley brothers, Harry's best friends, manage to smuggle him back in their father's magical flying car. Once the excitement of that particular event dies down, the second term with all its adventures truly begins.

The second book introduces us to some new characters, who will be playing a major role in the future books. This is where Ginny Weasley, the youngest Weasley sib, starts her own journey at Hogwarts. We also meet her father Arthur Weasley, and Lucius Malfoy, the sneering and malicious father of Draco Malfoy, Harry's biggest enemy at school. We also encounter Moaning Myrtle, a weepy ghost that haunts the girls' bathroom, and Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore's pet phoenix, and of course, this year's Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, the narcissistic and fame-hungry Gilderoy Lockhart.

While all this is going on, there's also that underlying mystery that is the trademark of all the Potter books. The mysterious Chamber of Secrets, a secret annexe within Hogwarts, reputed to house a fearsome monster, has been reopened, and all students of mixed parentage are in grave danger. It is while the horror of this unknown creature unfolds that we make a few discoveries about Hagrid the gamekeeper's past, as well as Harry's gift of Parselmouth, the ability to speak to snakes, of which we had a glimpse in the first book.

The Chamber of Secrets carries all the magic, suspense and humour that its predecessor had. Yet it remains my least favourite book in the series, being peopled with some of the most annoying characters in the series. From Dobby to Moaning Myrtle, to Lockhart, to the star-struck Colin Creevy, it's one whiny thorn in the path to another. Nevertheless, it's a Harry Potter book. Do you really need a reason to love it?

By Sabrina F Ahmad


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