For that heady feeling in your life

WHAT IS it with men and combs? No, we are not talking of just those dainty little ornaments that make women with long black hair (okay, so we're prejudiced, but black is the most beautiful!) look so entrancing.

This is specifically a reference to those fluorescent plastic thingummies that men like to stick in the back pockets of their trousers or jeans.

And you cannot miss the little things, for they come in the most shockingly vivid yellows, blues, and purples! Not to mention reds, pinks and greens. Anyway, you've probably come across one of these guys some time today, and, for all we know, you might be one of them yourself.

But that is not the point. What intrigues us is the manner in which men use these combs to, well, comb their hair.

So, how do they go about it? If it's a guy with a motorbike, the MO (modus operandi) is simple. Parking time is mostly hair-combing time.

Usually. the comb is whipped out, the rear-view mirror moved just so, the hair ruffled, the angle checked, the effect examined, and the hair combed this way and that, again and again till the owner is more or less satisfied, but not totally happy.

Never mind the parking attendant waiting patiently by, ticket in hand. He, of course, would not dream of interrupting. He knows how important the ritual is. And he empathises.

But this habit and the long-drawn out process is not restricted to bike-owners alone.

Guys on bicycles, in autorickshaws or cars, and for that matter, in buses, go through the same routine every time they decide to go somewhere, meet someone. The humble comb, you might say, is a great leveller. We asked some men why the comb was such a constant companion. Some said it was plain old-fashioned conceit, some said it was a kind of reassurance.

And interestingly, a few pointed out that it is often the man who is losing his hair (but baldness is attractive, think Bruce Willis, Akshaye Khanna or Bharat Dhabolkar) who takes the most care combing, nay arranging his hair.

We are not excluding women from this minute examination of self and habits. Oh yes, women arm themselves with combs too. But their beautifying objects are usually hidden inside dainty purses or roomy bags and the article in question usually comes in milder colours. Besides, women usually retire to the "Ladies Room" to powder their noses, do things to their eyes and lips, and fluff up or style their tresses. Though, that is changing too now. But, you do see the difference don't you?

All things said, however, life wouldn't be half as interesting without men around, not to mention those combs in their back pockets!

By Divya Sreedharan

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