It’s just a few days since Movember came to a close and a lot of Westerners will be glad to see the back of the silly mustaches grown by men to promote awareness for men’s health! It’s a great cause and it works because these days, not that many men sport mustaches so they stand out, but it seems that in some parts of the world, a mustache isn’t something that is only desired in the month of November!
In the Middle East especially, thick mustaches are seen by many men as symbolic of masculine virility, maturity and wisdom – and those who can’t grow their own are willing to go under the surgeon’s knife to get one!
According to Turkish plastic surgeon Selahattin Tulunay, the numbers of men who travel to Turkey to have the mustache implant procedure has been rapidly increasing in recent years. Tulunay claims to carry out between 50 – 60 procedures each month and most of these are on men who have travelled from the Middle East as medical tourists!
Tulunay said: “For some men who look young and junior, they think (a mustache) is a must to look senior … more professional and wise…They think it is prestigious.”
The procedure used by Tulunay and other surgeons that carry out Mustache implants is called “follicular unit extraction” which sees them take groups of hair from areas where it grows densely and implant it in the mustache area.
I don’t even want to know where these “dense growth” areas might be!
The procedure is a relatively simple one carried out under local anesthetic, with patients able to fly home the next day if need be. It normally costs around $7,000/£4,375 and patients are told not to shave for 15 days but are able to wash their new hairy parts the following day! They are told to expect to see full results in approximately 6 months!
Tulunay said that some of his patients wanted to emulate certain celebrities, like infamous Turkish singer and actor Ibrahim Tatlises. Politicians also went for the unusual transplant believing that it would increase their appeal to voters!
Christa Salamandra, an associate professor of anthropology at the City University of New York said that the mustache has always been a “symbol of high social status” and featured significantly in matters of personal honor in the Arab world. Apparently men would swear on their mustaches and would often use them as collateral for loans or as a guarantee for promises. Sometimes they even would shave their rival’s lip as punishment for perceived wrongdoings!