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Beard is Back, Knot is Out

Author: Clifford Martis

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Men’s fashions change though not as fast as women’s fashions. Right now we see men with beard on their faces. In the past a clean shaven face was considered to be a decent thing. Even if a man did not shave regularly he would shave for important occasions like feasts and festivals. But today you can see a young man getting ready to get married with beard on his face.

Just try to see a man on the TV or in the movie. There is no one without a beard. Does the beard on the face look nice or fashionable? Luckily the beard is only a thin coating. It is understood that the men shave themselves with special shaving devices so that a thin layer remains.

The men do not have long beard like that of holy men or sadhus. What they have is only a thin layer. Nevertheless there are some men who do grow their beard a little longer like sadhus. But most men, especially young men have beard. It is interesting to see that present day young man does not mind going for an important job or even sitting on the hasemane (The seat on which a marrying couple sit) with beard on their face.

What could be the reason for men to bring beard back to the face? Is it the saving in time and botheration involved in daily shaving? Or is it really something which has more beauty, dignity and serious looks? A lady told me that she has three sons and all the three have started sporting beard. Luckily she says her husband has not fallen to the fashion. But having said that her three sons sporting a beard she goes on to say that it is OK for young men staying In hostels etc to have the beard so as to save on shaving time.

It appears that it is the movies which are responsible for the return of the beard. In the past the hero was a clean shaven man whereas the villain was invariably sporting a beard. But now it appears that heroines like their hero with the beard. In the past when the full face beard was not so popular among men they used to have funny styles of short beards like beard only on the chin (goatee?), royale beard, mutton chop beard and many other styles. But now they are going for full face beard.

What is meant by “Knot is out”? It means the neck tie knot is out. We see fewer men wearing ties these days. They wear the coat all right but no tie. A tie and a coat would look nice. It was formal dress. But only the coat and no tie looks a bit strange. It is neither formal nor totally informal. The absence of the tie is not as frequent as the presence of beard. If we look at TV or movies we may find roughly 50% men without tie. Men in foreign counties still wear tie. But here too the tie is gradually getting untied.

Tie at the neck does cause much inconvenience, especially in hot weather. Plus wearing the tie, putting the knot neatly, looking for matching colour and design – all these did cause much inconvenience. Long ago my cousin who was an officer in the Navy invited me to his ship. I did not know that I had to wear a tie. When I reached the ship my cousin said, “Cliffy, where is the tie?” My God! What to do now? I had travelled a long distance to go to the ship. There was no question of going back home for selecting the tie. I went to a friend’s house nearby, wore a tie and enjoyed the dinner. I was reminded of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s story. Trust readers remember. A rich man had invited friends for a grand dinner. Vidyasagar who was also invited went in his plain humble clothes. The watchman did not recognize him and so did not allow him inside. Vidyasagar went back, wore some borrowed grand clothes and went again. This time he was welcomed. But the funny thing is that when dinner was served Vidyasagar was found coaxing his coat and tie to eat the food!

I am wondering whether with the absence of the tie we may be able to go to a Naval ship or any other formal area without the tie. What about gong for an interview for a job?

Can we think of something men or women may try next? Can we think of the atrocious idea of women sporting a beard? Please don’t laugh. Men have started women’s fashion of ear rings (which are now going down to the nose also. (If ear and nose are covered will the navel be far behind?). We do see some women having some mouch and also beard. But this not a common thing. In fact it is a of nature. But if women want to have a beard it is not impossible. If they shave sometimes the beard may grow easily. Havn’t women started wearing pants and even shorts?


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