Anne-Marie Guarnieri, Allure magazine
Mustaches are sprouting up on celebs and hipsters with some regularity these days-perhaps a logical extension of the whole urban lumberjack trend. But that's pretty much all that hair on the male upper lip signifies in our society-a trend, a fashion. Not so in the Middle East, where doctors are reporting a strong demand for mustache transplants. Men throughout the region are willing to pay good money (as much as $7,000) and travel far (to specialists in Turkey and as far away as Paris) to acquire what nature has denied them: a thatch of hair that imparts a sense of virility and strength.
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According to a recent report from CNN, Ottoman literature is filled with references to silky whiskers, and men in some parts of the region consider a mustache so central to their personal identity that they will swear an oath on theirs and curse the mustaches of their enemies. The transplant operation is a same-day affair that involves taking hair from other parts of the body and planting it above the mouth. Patients are sent home with instructions not to shave for two weeks, which is the only part that appeals to me. I do, however, harbor a desire to meet Reza from Bravo's The Shahs of Sunset (who, as far as I know, has a nose beard that has not been augmented in any way), and when I do, I will ask him to autograph my souvenir Reza mustache mug. I may also ask him to curse the mustaches of my enemies; I'm thinking it'll mean more coming from him.
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