The curious case of the moustache and the politicians who hide behind it

The moustache a man wears can tell a lot about him; most already know that. But one has to have a keen eye to observe the quirks that defines one’s personality, which is often hidden behind moustaches.

This discourse is limited to the member of the political tribe because, after all, they are the most ‘public’ figures in any land today. Sometimes, it seems as if one knows them better than one knows oneself. Moustaches of other well-known celebrities like movie stars are not too revealing, since they live in a superficial world. Politicians, however, like to reflect themselves as intellectual creatures with shades of individualism.

The most famous moustache is, undoubtedly, that of Adolf Hitler. Hitler’s style is actually an adaptation of the European style. One could even say that it is an improvisation on the Clark Gable style.

Hitler’s style was not only famous because of his controversial personality but also because the great showman, Charlie Chaplin, copied it and brought it to the attention of the world through his movies. In the era of silent films, one can imagine that Chaplin must have needed adequate props to communicate with the audience. The moustache he copied from Hitler was certainly one of his most important props.

The personality behind the moustache in Hitler’s case need not be elaborated on, since even newborn babies are now familiar with it. But one can observe that today, there are many politicians, even in Nepal, who adopt Hitler’s moustache with only some modifications. This has to warn us to the fact that the personalities behind such moustaches have minds that are militarily bent, and such people can be expected to be disciplinarian in nature, as well as slightly dictatorial.

Such personality quirks are very useful at times, especially when a country is seeking rapid elevation in the ranks from least developed to ‘at-least’ developing nation. Discipline can be the key in such instances. Only, one has to hope that the style of the moustache changes with the times, so that such personality quirks also change, and the leader becomes less dictatorial and more democratic; at least after the objective has been achieved.

Then, there are people who like to have the American-style moustache. One can immediately say that these people are the ones loaded with cynicism, for they have seen most things that the world has to offer. Not many politicians are found to have such a moustache because a politician knows instinctively that such moustache will reflect to the voters that he is ‘a man of the world’. They would rather be known as ‘a man of the masses’, and it would be wrong to think that the masses are lucky enough to see much of the world.

So, although most politicians are men of the world in the real sense—one remembers some philosopher’s words, “politics is the last refuge of the scoundrel”—they will never betray this fact to the gullible voters. At the same time, they do not totally want to get rid of the moustache which they crave for. Can one fight natural instinct?

If one’s country has a leader with the American moustache sloping downwards, as it should naturally be, then one can sleep well, confident that things are in good hands. But woe befalls if the curling happens.

So, what they do most of the time is that they improvise. By doing so, their moustaches become at times crisp and short, and at most times, curled up at the tips.

It is when the curling happens that one has to be careful, for this can have an adverse effect on the personality. They tend to become much more aggressive in matters of state than their basic nature allows. This leads to frustrations because of inner turmoil. If one’s country has a leader with the American moustache sloping downwards, as it should naturally be, then one can sleep well, confident that things are in good hands. But woe befalls if the curling happens.

Beards, which are becoming rarities nowadays with the politicians, are however used to hide the style of the moustache by politicians, lest they are exposed. Otherwise, beards are either the bearded trying to identify themselves as creative, or individualistic. More often, beards are used to hide weak jaw-lines and pimples.

Lastly, mention must be made of those politicians without moustaches. Actually, such people are so confident of their looks—good looking, commanding, reflecting of intelligence, or plain homely—that they do not need the prop called a moustache.

These politicians are innumerable in the political jungle. This is a natural phenomenon because one can expect that leaders have to be confident. Being confident in one’s basic god-given features is only the starting point for building images of self- grandiosity in other fields, as well.

One can come across many politicians without moustaches, and arrive at the conclusion that they constitute the majority. This is a fact. However, looking at the sorry state that many countries are in today, it makes me conclude that just as moustaches reveal personalities, the lack of moustaches is also damagingly revealing.

It is revealing of the hypocrisy and inaptitude of most politicians — they woo voters, they will pretend to go along with the advice of the majority of the people, but when they are in power, they listen to no one.

Which reminds me to comment that Indian style moustaches are the most revealing; a lot of people adopt this style. People with this style do not mind revealing themselves; therefore it is natural that it has become a style of the masses. Most politicians do not go for this style, naturally.

(Shrestha is the author of ‘The Dark Mermaid’.)


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