It's not that I was looking for any affair when I went to India, but, had it been like that, I'd have found it impossible. It's not that I didn't have the chance (which I had); it's that I was put off, since every single Indian man has a moustache! Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists,... all of them! And I find it squeamish to draw closer to a man if he has that furry little friend!
India is a moustache-dense country, especially in the south, where I lived. I read that 80% of men in Southern India wear moustaches. Where was the remaining 20%? I didn't see any guy without, at least, a little bit of fur above his upper lip!
In Europe we usually associate beards and moustaches with uncleanliness and laziness. A guy with a moustache looks unkempt. Moustaches are not fashionable and they definitely don't look cool or attractive; just the opposite, cheesy. There's nothing that puts a woman off more than a man with a mo' (well, I actually think there are other gross things, too).
Nonetheless, in India moustaches are seen as a potent symbol of virility. It is considered gentlemanly etiquette for guys to have a moustache. They think they look more majestic. A moustache makes any random guy look like a South Indian super-hero. Others, like Sikhs, have some excuse. They display facial hair proudly since for them 'kesh' (uncut hair) is a religious non-negotiating principle.
Fortunately, the traditional belief that facial hair is a sign of manhood appears to be facing the chop (not in rural areas, though). India is entering the clean-shaven age!
It's a pity Indians don't compete in the World Moustache Championship; if they did, they would completely overshadow everyone. According to the Guinness World Records 2009, the Indian Badamsinh Juwansinh Gurjar holds the record for the longest moustache. It measures a staggering 12.5 feet; he had been growing it for 22 years. Another Indian, Ram Singh Chauhan of Rajasthan, registered a moustache at 11.5 feet and Kalyan Ramji Sain started growing his in 1976. By 1993, it reached a span of 11.1 feet. It seems like moustache growing is India's 'baseball' - their national pastime .
Here you have a selection of the moustaches you get to see while in India: