Magazine article The Spectator

Movember, Mo' Problems

Magazine article The Spectator

Movember, Mo' Problems

Article excerpt

I'm currently growing a moustache to raise money for various charities associated with men's health - or 'doing the Movember thing', to use the official terminology.

I 'm not enjoying the experience.

I was a blond child and what's left of my hair is mousy brown, but my moustache is ginger. That's right, ginger.

I look like a lower-middle-class spiv, circa 1948.

To make matters worse, I can't persuade anyone to sponsor me. So far, I 've raised a grand total of £60, but even that paltry amount means I can't shave it off until 30 November. As Caroline said, 'Wouldn't it have been easier to just donate £60 to a prostate cancer charity and not bother with the moustache?' She then added, 'You do realise I 'm not going to kiss you for a month?'

God knows what possessed me to do it. Part of it was vanity.

I somehow convinced myself that I might actually look better with a moustache.

I t's the same flawed judgment that prompts men to buy some absurdly flamboyant item of clothing only to be laughed at by all their mates the moment they wear it out. The difference is, they can take it back to the shop the next day, whereas I 'm stuck with this lip weasel.

Peer pressure must have been a factor, too.

I t sounds pathetic - no, it is pathetic - but reading about all the celebs who are growing moustaches for the month of November and seeing them on telly unquestionably had a subliminal effect. Monkey see, monkey do.

Then there's the desire to advertise just what an upstanding Christian fellow I am. Movember must be the least anonymous form of charitable giving known to man - worse, even, than having an athletics stadium named after you at your alma mater.

I t's like hanging an enormous sign around your neck saying, ' I 'm raising money for a good cause.' Subtext:

I 'm a bloody nice guy.

But by far the most embarrassing motive - and I 'm guilty of this, too - is the impulse to compete with women when it comes to victim status.

I imagine it was envy of women's pitiable condition on account of all their 'health issues' that prompted the men behind Movember to start the charity in the first place. They'd had enough of all these famous women going on and on about breast cancer and ovarian cancer and thought, 'Right, time to get in on that gender-specific disease action. …

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