Well, I’m half way through the hirsute hullaballoo that is Movember. If you’ve missed this annual event, it’s a fund/consciousness raiser for male health issues in which men volunteer to grow a moustache during the month of November, thus the name. You can find details and so forth here. You can also find me. No photographs as my phone camera has broken (honest). Not that I’m disappointed. I’m more disappointed in my pathetic moustache. I was hoping for a Zapata (one of those ‘60s droopy affairs) but fifteen days in and I’ve got something that barely registers. Furthermore I’ve had to stop putting my hair into a ponytail because if I do it makes me look like one of those characters in 1950s British films that James Robertson Justice would shout at, and when I put my glasses on, then it’s a cuckolded husband played by a harassed Richard Attenborough. Which is worse.
And I like my ponytail. It keeps my hair out of the way and it irritates dedicated followers of fashion who, for some reason, seem to think they have a right to comment. Movember irritates other people too. I read one chap railing against it as being stupid and ineffective and, while he may be right, at least it’s fairly harmless and only effects the moustachioed and his immediate family, which is more than can be said for those prannets who announce that they’re going to cross some ocean on a space hopper and always seem to end up having to be rescued by the Australian Navy.
The other thing Movember does, it forces the men involved to face up to their facial hair growing abilities. Women, and any bloke who’s never tried to grow a beard or moustache, will be happily unaware of the fraughtness that it creates in the rest of us. In the ‘90s I shared lodgings with a bloke who had to shave twice a day and used to develop a five o’clock shadow á la Fred Flintstone or Homer Simpson and as a student I shared accommodation for two years with a bloke who, within about three days, could grow a beard that would have won warm applause from any member of Jethro Tull circa 1974.
I, on the other hand, had to suffer the sorrow that comes on a chap when his moustache does not connect with his beard. A small, yet pungently shaming gap remained either side of the mouth to sneer at my pretentions to Hemingwayesqe machismo.
And then, a couple of years ago, I was on a fortnight long narrowboat holiday. I don’t shave when I’m on a boat, officially to save water, unofficially because I’m on holiday, and about two thirds of the way through the trip it finally happened. They joined up.
I had moustache/beard interface. I felt
as though a great burden had at last been passed from me. Houston
But, Hirsutius, the god of facial hair, is a cruel and capricious god. As I admired my fine piece of horticulture, I saw two patches, equidistantly astride my chin, of white hair. My first. Truly is it said that the gods are not mocked. Things were not improved by my two and a bit year old niece who, whenever she was sitting on my knee, would gaze wide-eyed at my white patches, occasionally lifting a tremulous hand to touch one of them, before snatching it back with a look of unease and discomfort. So you can see that I had some, albeit forlorn, but still some hopes for this moustache. Alas it is not to be.
Still, only fifteen more days to go.