Ours was the generation to see off the Black and White television era, the one that will be the last to know what it was like before “the internet” and thankfully also the one to witness first hand dramatic changes in the men’s grooming habits and then bid goodbye to the bare minimum men’s grooming rituals of those times.
The year was 1998 and the 2 messiahs of metro sexuality and the Agents of Change for Men’s Grooming were:
1. Salman Khan, shirtless, more importantly ripped and most importantly without chest hair, crooning Oh Oh Jaaane Jaana! Jaana! (Image source : http://guitar4learners.blogspot.in/)
And 2. Shahrukh Khan (just being himself!), wearing GAP in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai! (image source : http://ww.itimes.com/)
This was the birth year of the Metro sexual. The generation which didn’t blush while man-scaping their bodies and found it truly acceptable and even desirable to be clean shaven and consider dabbing a generous amount of after shave lotion an integral part of the routine. The generation which truly discovered Men’s Grooming.
Before these fantastic visuals captured the Indian male imagination, the times were simpler. It was also one of bare necessities-fulfilling, and rather boring daily routines. You brushed, you had a bath with lifebuoy soap (Image source : www.unilever.com), you put parachute coconut oil in your hair and you had a Sunsilk shampoo bath a couple of times a week.
You let you hair grow on your chest, on your back, on the back of your neck, of course your face, well anywhere one could grow it. The hairier you are, the more uncomfortable you get in India’s weather, and the more masculine you were considered.
But in 1998, something somewhere put on the lights on the grooming rituals of Indian men everywhere, it somehow suddenly became important that we took care of ourselves, of how we looked, felt and presented ourselves in public.
These 2 guys were the reason for a paradigm shift in the way men took care of their bodies; of their health, of their hygiene, of their grooming, of their overall presentation itself, it was a socio economic change moment!
We were suddenly flooded with a variety of choices for every aspect of Men’s Grooming rituals, from our oral hygiene to body odour, from Ita’lian saloons (coz you sat on an Ita, brick, while the barber went about his business on you under the shade of a tree) to holistic spa therapy and all under budget.
Indian men started taking that extra bit, from additional conditioner after a shampoo, to an after shave cream for soothing skin, from hair gels and waxes for the straight or curvy or spiky look to moisturizers for less callused hands.
We, Indian men, as a generation, are more exposed to argan, aloe vera, shea butter and several other ingredients, than any other in recorded history and that’s great news for us. Becoming aware of our own health, both for inner health and outward appearances, has been a hallmark of social evolution and with every passing day, the Indian Man is being seen as a customer to be catered and Men’s Grooming an important aspect of everyday life to be taken care of with the best that there is to be offered.
That being said, this is the 1st chapter of this new men’s grooming era, the introduction so to say. In the forth-coming blogs, we shall take look at the finer details of this Movement of Sorts.
Stay tuned folks.