No, You May Not Touch My Testosterone

Gender

No, You May Not Touch My Testosterone

Illustration: Akshita Monga

I

n the last couple of years, I took a major fashion decision and inadvertently became a symbol of sorts for national integration. See, ever since I woke up one day and decided to stop shaving, which was about two years ago, I’ve managed to grow a pretty badass beard. Not those neatly trimmed odes to faux masculinity, but a full on, wild-man patch of facial fuzz. Since then, I’ve alternated between mumbling “Sat Sri Akal” and “Salam Alaikum” in return to greetings. (Weirdly, I have also been mistaken for a Mexican.) The answer has been right below my nose, literally.

I don’t mind being a poster boy for Hum Sab Ek Hai, but what I mind is how women have reacted to my beard. Some women called it sexy, but most called it sexist. I’ve been chided for it; some have requested, some have begged, and a few have even threatened me to shave or at least trim it. One chick asked, “Can I touch your testosterone?” My automated response to a question beginning with “can I touch” is, “Hell, yes!” But I checked my impulse and walked away with my beard untouched and dignity intact.

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