x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Moustache trends in the UAE come and go

While moustaches were traditionally an important part of manhood for Arabs, the trend seems to be changing.

In the Arab world, the moustache has historically played an essential role in a man's composition and shaving it was forbidden.

"A moustache for the Arabs is part of manhood. It had a value, even for a small child," said Dr Ahmed Alomosh, professor of applied sociology at Sharjah University. "It was an important symbol of power and it was a taboo to remove it.

"This concept in Arab culture goes back to thousands of years, even before Islam, when the moustache was one of the main characteristics of a man.

"Not only the moustache was important, but also its size."

But the region has gone through a transformation and time has changed the concept of what is acceptable.

"With the westernisation of the culture, about four decades ago, the concept changed and it became beautiful not to have a moustache," Dr Alomosh said. "From a societal point of view, not having a moustache is still a preference for the youth."

Moustache trends have come and gone in the UAE.

"Before the 1960s, men in the UAE had to have both a beard and a moustache, while in the 1960s and 1970s the beard disappeared while men kept their moustache," said Dr Hamad bin Sarai, associate professor of history and archaeology at UAE University. "In the 1980s and 1990s men started with not having both."

wissa@thenational.ae