29 November 2010

A Disappointing Movember

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Movember is a sad time of year for me. And not because it's the month for sombre reflection upon personal heroes struck down in their prime, or generally acknowledge the finite nature of robust health. I wish I were that caring or philosophical.

No, it makes me sad because I cannot, for any reason, or in any substantive shape, shade or form, grow a respectable fucking mustache. As much as I love them, (and from the Chaplin/Hitler to the ape-hanger handlebar, from the Selleck to the Old-world Colonel, I do) I am unable to get anything better than a slight whisper of brown fuzz to populate my upper lip. If mustaches were troops, the space beneath my nose is Iceland - there's an occasional wispy nod to the notion, but no standing army.

Movember is a worthwhile cause on many levels: first and foremost it promotes men’s health. Given that, statistically, most men are fat and lazy and getting fatter and lazier, this is a noble and timely cause to champion.

At the same time, Movember allows men of all ages, regardless of background, job, or marital status to assert a bit of individuality. That this ‘statement of individuality’ comes in the midst of so many other men asserting their own individuality means he won't stand out so far that he risks solo humiliation. Any embarrassment is a badge for the brotherhood.

Actually he will stand out – but rather than getting snickered at for being a douche or a hipster-douche people passing in the street will look at him and think “Well, look at that guy, bravely cultivating a soup strainer on his face to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other pressing threats to men's health, in spite of the potential embarrassment. He may be many things, but that guy sure isn't a dick.”

From a fiscal responsibility standpoint, the annual November cultivation of some radical face furniture gives conservatively-dressed City workers license to do something crazy that doesn’t involve gambling away other people’s money, which may just have a knock-on effect of curbing the egregious mismanagement of others' life-savings that has been the watchword of the (male-dominated) financial industry for years. Possibly.

Myself, on the other hand, for this Movember I again look the unsupportive non-participant: just a regular jerk who thinks he's too cool to pitch in and raise awareness of important issues that need to have awareness of them raised by sporting some horizontal face plumage. But the tragic truth is that I lack the capability. I'd love to participate but I can't.

I have even tried to get my mo going this Movember, working on it for nigh on a fortnight. It was as futile as farming the Gobi. And even when I was trying to participate I looked like a non-participant.

In a weak moment I borrowed my wife's mascara to give my upper-lip growth “fuller, lusher volume.” I’m not ashamed to cop to this act of desperation, I’m only ashamed to admit that it was largely ineffective; until L’Oreal devotes greater attention to the crossover-market potential for a mascara-like product to thicken weedy facial growth, their product lines will remain unfit-for-purpose.

But this isn’t about stuffing advice into L’Oreal's market research suggestion box, it is a fist-shake at the heavens for damning me with teenage-level mustache-growing capabilities, and an envious doff of my bowler hat and squint of my monocle at those dandy gentlemen who have succeeded in crafting their lip-whiskers into a badge of honour and awareness-raising.

For me personally, this is the extent of my contributions to the cause: go get your prostate checked.

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