Monday, December 21, 2009

On Mustaches

I tried growing a mustache last month. It didn’t work. The reason I decided to spend a month with blond bristles on my upper lip is that mustaches are a big deal here. In fact, all facial hair is a big deal here. It is a status symbol, an indicator of a person’s position in life. For instance a full beard indicates adherence to a strict, non-Moroccan interpretation of Islam. It is a very unusual site, seen only in big cities where foreign Arabs live. Because a beard is generally disapproved of, the only way of showing true manhood, of letting the world know that you are the big cheese, a head honcho not to be trifled with, is to have a mustache. Of course, my inability to grow a solid mustache does not really jeopardize my position as the only foreigner for a hundred miles. That is a rather distinct status that facial hair does not bare upon. And in fact it is common for the younger generation, razed on American TV and G-Star Raw, to sport no facial hair at all. Thus I sleep easy knowing, mustache or no, I’ve got more status then every other American in my valley. (all told there is one including myself.)

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