Hair Tourism

Kivanc Tatlitug, image from haberler.com

Kivanc Tatlitug, image from haberler.com

Turkey has become a sought-after medical tourism destination, especially from the Arab world, for men’s hair implants — mustaches, beards, and associated whiskers. (click here for Constanze Letsch’s article) While their wives check out the sites where Turkish soap operas so popular in the Arab world are filmed, the men have their virility enhanced (at least visually). The hair implant package costs around $2,300.

A doctor explains,

“Both in Turkey and in Arab countries facial hair is associated with masculinity, and its lack can cause social difficulties. In Turkish there is a word for it: köse – baldness of the face – and it is usually not considered a good thing… Businessmen come to me to get beard and moustache implants, because they say that business partners do not take them seriously if they don’t sport facial hair.”

Another doctor says that some patients ask for transplants before taking a second, third, or fourth wife. On the rare occasion that a wife comes in for consultation with her husband, she generally is not so enthusiastic about mustaches. In fact, “many patients now want stubble beards like that of the Turkish TV show heartthrob and model Kivanç Tatlitug…” But no one apparently has asked for Tayyip Erdogan’s “almond” mustache. Are blue-tinted contact lenses next?

And to think that in the US men undergo such great pain to have their body hair removed by electrolysis or waxing! Ah, vanity, thy name is man.

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