In one of the Westernmost religions, Mormonism, mustaches and beards are avoided, and the West has a mixed respect for the facial adornments — some can pull it off, but the rest we ridicule. It’s a different story in the Middle East of course: Mustaches have been all the rage since the Ottoman Empire, and now, in response to Turkish TV Stars, mustaches are all the more coveted. But what if you aren’t naturally endowed with a full and virile mustache? Not to worry, you can always get an implant.
Mustache implants are more popular than ever. In Turkey, Selahattin Tulunay performs 50-60 “follicular unit extractions,” a month, many for medical tourists who visit just to have received that procedure.
“For some men who look young and junior, they think [a mustache] is a must to look senior … more professional and wise,” said Tulunay, as reported by CNN. “They think it is prestigious.”
Pierre Bouhanna in France offers the same procedure in France, mostly for visitors from the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Lebanon.
“Having a moustache was always a big thing, ever since the Ottoman time” explains Andrew Hammond, a Saudi Arabian journalist, “Most Arab leaders have mustaches or some form facial hair. I think culturally it suggest masculinity, wisdom and experience.”
As Christa Salamandra, an associate professor of anthropology at City University of New York, explains, “Traditionally, a luxurious mustache was a symbol of high social status.”
Indeed, virtually all Arab leaders sported a mighty stache, from Sadam Hussein and Yassir Arafat to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey’s Erdogan.
As the procedure costs $7,000 and requires only local anesthetics, it is less involved then, say, breast implantation surgery. And lately, a lot of men have brought in pictures of their favorite celebrities to emulate their mustache and get just the right look of male prowess.