|Salman did it first and now Frank Lampard
London, July 10: When England footballer Frank Lampard and his Spanish fiancee Elen Rives were snapped relaxing on a Hawaii beach by a paparazzo, the photograph revealed one of them had a waxed chest and shaved armpits — and it wasn’t the woman.
Lampard, 26, the England and Chelsea mid-fielder, who scored three goals in Euro 2004, has set a controversial new fashion trend which has become a major talking point in TV and radio chat shows.
Many traditional folk consider the associated puns (“hair today, gone tomorrow”) to be as bad as the fashion. But there is no denying that the footballer is leading the trend among men, especially sportsmen and other celebrities, to go to beauty salons for regular waxing sessions.
Indian beauty expert Sujata Jolly, who has a company which makes special creams for problem skins and who used to run a health club, said: “When I first came to England in the early 1970s and saw Englishmen on the beach with no hair, I felt so squeamish. Asian men, in comparison, are so hairy.”
She revealed the process of men removing unwanted hair began over 20 years ago.
“At my health club, we had a number of cyclists and swimmers who had hair removed for aerodynamic reasons,” she said.
“The air could get trapped in their hair and slow them down. Other men, too, had hair removed but it was not talked about much but now it is becoming more fashionable.”
The Daily Mail newspaper, which is a sharp spotter of trends, noted that “there was a time when a hairy chest would have been seen as an asset for a pin-up sportsman. But multi-millionaire footballers are the ultimate smooth operators. Some stars don’t feel fit to face their adoring public without a lengthy waxing session at the beauty salon”.
It observed tongue in cheek: “It’s debatable whether the players themselves spend more time on their appearance than the perma-tanned footballers’ wives.”
Compared with Lampard’s most recent photograph, which shows him with a baby-smooth chest and armpits — his legs remain hairy — his earlier pictures show a healthy tuft protruding from his top shirt button.
One onlooker on the Hawaii beach commented: “When Frank took a phone call and reclined back on his lounger, he suddenly revealed a distinct lack of underarm hair. Assuming he waxed the hair off, he won’t have to do much to maintain it — just go to the beauty salon every six weeks or so. But if he shaved it, then he will have to redo it nearly every day. He will probably be fighting with his fiancee over who gets to spend time in the bathroom.”
According to some fashion watchers, Lampard may have picked the hair-removal trend from his captain, David Beckham, who is thought “to wax his chest and some rather more intimate areas”.
Opinions vary whether men without hair are more attractive to women. Vanessa Feltz, a newspaper columnist, suggests the trend is “bad news for women who like their hunks furry”.
There was a time when men would buy hair wigs in order to look more masculine but times have changed. The Arsenal footballer and Swede international Freddie Ljungberg admitted he shaved his chest before posing for a Calvin Klein advertisement.
Asked whether Indian men have always been hairy, Sujata Jolly shook her head. “If you look at pictures of Lord Krishna and Ram, they don’t have hair. Only Ganesh sometimes has hair.”
In more recent times, at least one Bollywood pint-sized superman, Salman Khan, has displayed a hairless chest and displayed quite often — it’s hard to name a movie where he hasn’t peeled off his shirt to flaunt his muscles.
Maybe in at least one fashion trend, India is years, actually eons considering Krishna and Ram, ahead of the West.