December 17th, 2012


Postcard from India: Fashionista II

North Indian men wear:

Dress shirt with skinny jeans
Dress shirt with skinny pants
Dress shirt with business pants
Dress shirt with long waist wrap that looks like a skirt made from a farmhouse tablecloth
Dress shirt with medium waist wrap that looks like a white skirt
Dress shirt with short waist wrap that looks like a white skirt.
Any of the above plus an acrylic sweater vest and/or head wrap.

If an Indian man is in a t-shirt, he’s making a statement and he’s under 25. If an Indian man is wearing an undershirt, he’s either just taken a bath or about to take one, or engaging in hard labor, or on his way home from engaging in hard labor. If his dress shirt is a bright color or a shiny fabric, he is a city-dweller under the age of 25.

Indian men are fanatical enough about grooming that even the poorest men sit for the sidewalk barbers, ten rupees for a straight-razor shave and face massage, twenty for a simple haircut, short on the neck.

Dear Male Backpackers: even though you believe yourself to be modestly covered, your wildly-patterned harem pants, long cloth vest, and kurta shirt are saying, “I am aping a Nepalese peasant; also I do not know the difference between male and female trousers.” The only thing your dreadlocks are adding to this conversation is, “Though I can afford to take a bath, I don’t.”

Onward to South Africa, a couple of postcards left to post; just like real mail, arriving long after I've left.