BEIRUT: Staff at Mario’s Spa Salon in Hamra have printed off half-a-dozen national flags – from Germany to Brazil – in order to serve World Cup fans proving their allegiance with colorful fingers.
Among the sample nail art now on show at Mario’s are simplified ensigns of football’s biggest national teams, hand painted onto a display board of acrylic talons.
“Yesterday, we had a girl who painted her nails with the Iranian flag,” said a manager at Mario’s. “There are really fun designs.”
World Cup fever has led to a slew of local kitsch. Men and women are dying, painting and shaving themselves in the colors and shapes of the world’s most-watched sporting event. With a few exceptions – like Mario’s Iranian customer – most of Beirut’s fans are paying aesthetic tribute to Brazil and Portugal’s star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.
Barbar Ahmad Mohsin owns a shop in Beirut’s southern suburbs, where the quirky gelled mohawks and buzzed undercuts so prevalent among football stars are mainstay hairdos among local teens. Boys as young as 7 play in nearby alleyways with “Germany” roughly buzzed into the sides of their heads.
The most common World Cup hairstyle, Mohsin says, is longer hair at the top and buzzed sides with a zigzag shaved to the skin – the same as Portugal’s forward Ronaldo. That haircut has made international headlines as young people around the world copy the look of their football idol, whose style decision, rumor has it, was fueled by a heartwarming tale.
Ronaldo’s zigzag was supposedly done to mimic a young boy’s head scar; one left by a medical operation that the millionaire footballer helped to fund.
“Most of the men asking for Cristiano Ronaldo are young men,” Mohsin told The Daily Star. “There are some people, but fewer, asking for highlights like Neymar Junior.”
Neymar da Silva Santos Junior plays forward for Brazil. His bleach-blonde mohawk has spurred mixed reactions, with some young men flocking to copy his style and others publicly mocking the look across social media.
But World Cup-themed styles aren’t only for the boys. Salon owner Tony Ferneini started advertising World Cup-themed color treatments to his wealth of female customers.
“After the ad many women came to the shop who wanted to be part of the World Cup atmosphere,” he told The Daily Star.
He’s offering highlights or dips in the colors of World Cup, such as strips of black, blonde and red hair in tribute to Germany. For his regular clientele, Ferneini is also offering very temporary hair dye to get crazier colors like Brazilian green or Argentinian blue.
“Sometimes men ask to dye their hair like flags or in colors,” he said.
At Nail Bar in Ashrafieh, long-time clientele have proven to be more sober football fans.
Most with special nail requests are having just a single nail on the fourth finger painted in flag designs, an employee told The Daily Star. “Some come and ask for a flag, but they’re not as crazed,” she said. “They’re still sane here.”