Alright, let’s be honest. How many truly gorgeous men are there in the world with three centimetres of fur on their faces? A Shipwrecked Tom Hanks? John Lennon in 1970? I always seem to stick my neck out for Señor Guevara – an exception in so many ways – but beyond him, nope. Huge hippie beards, tightly wound man buns. They just ain’t for me.
Now I’m no single girl in Buenos Aires but I am human, so I look. Actually, I’m a woman, so I dissect. They promised me the Argentines would be tall and strong, arrogant yet passionate – a pack of wolf-whistling pain-in-the-arses concealing a fiery, romantic, intellectualism at their core.
No-one said anything about the hair.
My friend’s apartment is in San Telmo, which may just be the hippiest place in the city. I love the cobbled streets, the books devoured in cafes, the new music on every corner. The place hums with creativity. It’s a window on a world where music, art and writing is appreciated; where the desire to create something perfect, for no reason at all, is understood.
But everything comes with a uniform – and here a man’s uniform is based on those beards and tightly-wound man buns. Coming from clean-cut Colombia, it’s a culture shock indeed.
I spent one wine-laced night in Chile, with eight girls, where we spent some time discussing the dreaded mullet. Thanks to Colombia, I no longer notice mullets – except to note that my boyfriend doesn’t have one. But some of the girls insisted that, far from loathing the inevitable handful of hair sprouting from a young man’s nape, they’d suddenly come to find them attractive.
Can something like that really grow on you?
With that in mind, I’ve been fascinated by beards and man buns for several days now. I had a great night at La Bomba – where beards and live music live in happy harmony – but it was the Sunday fair in San Telmo where hair really came into its own.
Wandering down a street, my friends and I happened across a crowd gathered around one band. They were incredible, playing with the spirit and happy intensity of musicians who know they are raising every hair on your forearms. I was transfixed and not alone.
Suddenly I noticed the piercing blue eyes of one musician and, such is my way, leaned towards my friend. “How good looking is that guy?” I asked casually.
“What?” she yelled back, unable to hear above the crowd. I wondered if it was worth repeating such a pointless remark and glanced back at the musician. Only then did I realise he had the biggest beard I have ever seen, a feature I apparently hadn’t noticed in my appreciation of his beauty.
“Forget it,” I replied. It’s definitely time to leave Buenos Aires.