“Among the Wodaabe, it is often the women who select their husbands and lovers. The Wodaabe also place great emphasis on physical beauty and personal charm. At the end of the rainy season, a magnificent celebration called the Geerewol marks the climax of the year for the Wodaabe. For seven days, men participate in a series of charm and beauty dances judged solely by women. During the week, women single out the most desirable men. As part of the ritual, Wodaabe men decorate their faces to appeal to the women spectators.”
“The men are rising up and down on tip-toe to show off their long, lithe bodies, and they're rolling their eyes around and showing their teeth and broad smiles and then puckering their lips up, and all the while they're making these clucking sounds. You get a real sense of a great number of men performing with high intensity, with a feverish pitch, in front of women who are scrutinizing their every bodily and facial movement. A man does not have to be beautiful to perform but he has to be charismatic. He has to have inner sociability and charm. They believe that this is equally important to physical beauty, so even a man who's not attractive can be a winner of the Yakke all-male charm dance."
“The week-long Geerewol celebration is highlighted by performances of the Geerewol dance itself, during which the most beautiful men are selected. Resplendent in red ocher face makeup, the contestants dress in uniform fashion, making it easier for judges to discern the truly beautiful. To bring out their beauty, some of the dancers drink a potion of bark and grasses mixed with milk. They stand shoulder to shoulder and chant in hypnotic harmony, "awakening the potions" and making them "rise to the heart and show themselves in the blood."
“In preparation for the annual charm dance competition, Wodaabe men apply yellow powder to lighten their faces, paint borders of black koal to highlight the whiteness of their teeth and eyes, and draw a thick line from forehead to chin to elongate the face. A 12-foot-long turban, carefully wound the contestant's head, completes his impressive appearance.”
“Wodaabe male dancers attempt to surpass one another in personality and magnetism as they perform the Yaake charm dance. Standing side by side and facing their audience, they widen their eyes and show off their teeth in broad, exaggerated smiles. A man who can hold one eye still as he rolls the other is considered especially alluring to his female judges.”