So I’m three weeks into this moustache-growing extravaganza known as Movember. It’s all for charidee mate. But I can’t say it’s too much fun. As with many charitable enterprises it is humiliation that unlocks the donations. Some fund raising activities are based on achievement: marathons, climbs and swims all spring to mind; others are about rewards: auctions, competitions, raffles are the standard fodder of garden parties and school fetes up and down the country; and then others are simply about making a prat of oneself in return for support. I guess Children In Need and Movember both fall into the latter category. Funny that I should be attracted to this one. Here's My Movember donation page
I nearly joined in last year. But not quite. A couple of mates were doing the mo thing and I said I’d go for it. Then I lost my nerve. I landed a project interview early doors in November with clients I’d never met before. I bottled it! I couldn’t face up to dishing out my usual high-grade unadulterated tender-speak with a malformed hairy slug under my nose. I didn’t like the prospect of squeaking in a self conscious little voice, “Erm, sorry about this look. Hehe. It’s a charity thing, honest!”
So no messing about this year. I’m in. A bloke on the BBC is writing a diary of his Movember challenge. "Who grows a moustache these days?" Patrick Heery's blog Mrs A calls him my soul mate. Maybe that’s about right, because I share Patrick’s grief. My moustache refuses to grow with anything like gusto. It is not a bushy, even, profuse coverage of tawny bristles. Sad to say there are holes and gaps. And it is taking for ever! I put it down to my Viking blood, being a good northerner. The Scandinavians don’t shave much. Or is that just a myth?
The slow grow is compounded by odd coloration. Ginger. Black. Mousey. And lots of grey. “Blond!” I defiantly claim. Hoots of derision from Mrs A and the daughters. If the mo is not really growing on me, then it is certainly not growing on them. Mrs A won’t come anywhere near me. The girls have an occasional rummage which is more often than not accompanied by a shivered spine and a curled lip. Theirs, not mine. Like Pat Heery, my beast itches too. I sit in meetings or in front of the telly, stroking my top lip, massaging my chin and kneading the unruly bristles.
Perhaps my choice of ‘tache hasn’t helped either. I had in mind a kind of James Hetfield (Metallica), Robert Plant droopy cowboy moustache. Not quite sure I’ve pulled that off. (I didn’t anticipate the intricate shaving skills required, for a start!). Comments have veered from Lemmy to Peter Sutcliffe via C&W check-shirt good ole boy-ness. Ho ‘kin ho!
But the bottom line is people have been fantastically generous. And it’s a good cause for prostrate cancer awareness and action. Some 36,000 men are diagnosed with this cancer every year and more than 10,000 die from the condition.
So, for that reason, this month has to be worth the curious glances and puzzled looks (…”you’ve got something on your…oh no, I think it’s a…. is that a moustache?”). Two weeks and counting.