When I heard a colleague use the term 'dented and painted' for himself after a visit to a men's salon, my mind began to tick. It is indeed a fact these days that people of my generation and even those of senior generations look much younger than they rightfully ought to.
Men unabashedly colour their hair (whatever is left of it) just as regularly as they snip their nails. And if they have moustaches or beards, they ensure that nothing less than jet-black is the colour of their facial hair growth. It is another matter that the moustaches or beards never before looked as dark throughout their lives!
Thus we find perfectly respectable gentlemen with healthy paunches and even healthier balding pates, getting 'denting-painting' jobs done from the best salons in town in order to look young and glamorous.
What takes the cake is that every 10 days they start looking like their dads, only to return to office after a weekend well spent looking exactly like their younger brothers. But this blatant transformation does not seem to bother them.
They do not feel guilty at all, on such Monday mornings, of having changed their appearance so radically, that one can hardly recognise them.
One particular worthy colleague had an unusual but related experience recently. He is getting on in years now and one suspects that he would look quite elderly, were he not to resort to camouflaging himself from time to time. What happened was that he entered the premises of a hair salon looking as if he was in his sixties and came out looking like a 40-year-old.
An old man selling papads by the wayside had a vigilant eye and when the visitor tried to unlock his car to drive away, the papad seller swung into action! The old man pounced on the poor fellow and grabbed him in a vice-like grip from behind. He was apparently quite certain that the man was trying to steal the car of a genteel senior citizen.
Needless to add, the salon owner and passersby heard the commotion and had to intervene in order to extricate the innocent victim from the clutches of the vigilant one. The papad seller was so astounded by the truth that he has become the latest client of the salon and promised the owner a free life-time supply of papads in exchange for a regular makeover at the salon.
Women are of course much less culpable in this regard. They have, over the centuries, had the innate right to try and look younger than they are, at each stage of their lives. Thus, one need not go into the subject of their repair and polish jobs, for fear of instant reprisal. It is best to have a laugh at the expense of fellow men.