Goatees, Beards, Moustaches and Sideburns

Goatee has recently become synonymous with the younger generation. In India, especially in the Southern parts, that too in Kerala particularly, young men have recently developed a tendency to grow goatees or French beard. The term goatee has perhaps evolved from the tuft of hair as grown on the chin of goats. Usually men are familiar with the different types of facial hair growth taken as fashionably stylistic in look and attitude generating some sort of pleasant curiosity in the onlookers especially the womenfolk.

Moustaches, beards, goatees, sideburns etc. are all different works of art crafted carefully by men using hair grown naturally on the countenance, with a view to attracting the opposite sex rather than keeping appearance in social movements. There are a variety of hairy art works now with different fashionable names attributed to them. There are Moustaches of English, Chaplin, Walrus, Movie Star, Gangster, Biker, Gambler, Pirate, Chinese, Handlebar, Bushy, Comedian, Devil Set, American, Spanish, Italian, French, Triangle, Prisoner, Black Devil, styles. The list may grow as endlessly as men in each community, profession, religion, trade or country invent some new style or fashion to create an impression upon themselves or to leave an imprint of prudence and social nicety on others. It is this subtle refinement of behavioral attitudes which paves the way for the newer tendencies and manners both in physical reactionary moments and in psychological outlooks.

As for goatees and beards too there is a plethora of trends set by men in each period, region and profession. There are One Point, Three Point, Five Point and Rapper Goatees and beards called Full, 8″, 14″, Uncle Sam, Nautical, Pirate, Amish, Economy, Gnome, Wizard, Santa etc. Sideburns or Sideboards are patches of facial hair grown on the sides of the face, extending from the hairline to below the ears and worn with an unbearded chin without any specific measurements or form. In fact, the word Sideburns is a corrupted variant of the 19th century Burnsides named after the American Civil War general Ambrose Burnside. Through out history, if we examine the male historical celebrities in any field like politics, history, art, culture, science etc. they are all with exuberant and extravagant sideburns, with the result that even a vague sketch of the sideburn of the given personality would undoubtedly evoke the very image of the person who he is! Such is the impact left on posterity by the image of the sideburns. This easy identification mark of a personality is something of the past because nowadays none prefers to maintain such long, thick and distinctly marked sideburns.

In Kerala, the youngsters are found to be with goatees more often than before with the advent of the new vistas opened through the economic and social changes accelerated by globalization. A fashion it has become among men especially in the information technology to raise light goatees with diametrically different patterns in their distinctive styles, functions and appearances. In times past the Kerala youth had an appearance created with well trimmed moustaches and sprucely and elegantly maintained sideburns arousing an appeal of adoration and admiration. But now things have changed dramatically and they are more often than before found to be enjoying with the look of goatees of considerable variations in measurements and shapes.

What really accounts for this sudden masculine transformational innovations in visual evolutions? Is it a mark of the inevitable social evolution as professed by the great social scientists of the western and eastern schools of thought? There are many who believe it to be so. One thing is sure. It must be the distinctive result of a long awaited wistful clamor for the revolutionary identity metamorphosis that has been going on there in the inner aisles of the Indian youth. The 20th century Indian youth had an identity of ideology that has been well reflected in the social and personal lives of the Kerala youth too of the same time. They were ruled by a spirit of dreams and ideas nurtured in their minds for a better tomorrow, not for themselves alone, but for the entire country. But now, the dreams are too self centric, too egoistic and for personal growth alone. Now they can express their identity only through such physical transformations invented after fashions and styles employed by men of comparatively lighter innate strength of elsewhere communities and societies. So, only goatees, sideburns, moustaches and beards alone can come to their aid, and only visual, acoustic or aromatic influences can be exerted by them on the posterity. No meaningful and perennial impact can be even dreamt of! Such is the power money has been exerting in this millennium!

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