In 1998 I travelled to Ireland. Both my Mum and my Dad can trace their ancestry to Ireland and I genuinely thought that when I arrived there I would feel some sort of connection…some sort of ancestral calling. Not surprisingly, I didn’t.
Movember has been similar. I won’t lie, as much as I played the ‘I’m going to look ridiculous’ card going into this, part of me genuinely hoped that I would actually look good. That it would suit me. That it would redefine me. In short, I really hoped that I could rock a mo. But, like Celtic ancestry, some things work better in the realm of imagination.
But here are some things I have learnt after three weeks with a mo.
People are so unkind
After the initial week of justified sniggering and pointing. People began to delight in taking the piss. A few people at work told me that I ‘looked like Cary Grant’. Which I took as a compliment until a quick Google images search revealed that the man never had a moustache!
Then my brother-in-law took to Twitter to tell me that if I just moved my eyebrows to where I wanted my mo to be, I would look like Magnum P.I! While this may be true…I think it’s fair to say that his Christmas present this year is going to be remarkably crap…or entertainingly flammable.
Then people on Instagram started to tell me that I looked like either Gomez Addams or Burt Reynolds. While this did lead to some pleasurable audio memories of the band Gomez, it also lead to some less pleasurable memories of…well…Burt Reynolds.
Movember is the equaliser
As a man you live in constant fear of accidentally asking a non-pregnant woman if she is pregnant (which roughly translates as ‘you’re looking a bit tubby’). It really is the ultimate social faux pas. So much so, that even if a woman is clearly in labour in front of me…I will avoid asking if she’s pregnant, just to be safe.
Up until now, I could never find a female equivalent. But with Movember, women feel quite comfortable coming up to you and saying ‘Oh, you’re doing Movember?’ (which roughly translates as ‘Oh Christ there is something that looks like a caterpillar under your nose. Please don’t let that be serious!’) So all you have to do is look innocent and say ‘No, I’ve been growing this since October…I really like it’, and you can sit back and enjoy a lot of conversational back-pedalling and desperate attempts to extricate themselves from the situation.
A moustache is not particularly comfortable
Perhaps in time this will change. But after three weeks, my Mo is itchy and scratchy…and not in the good Simpsons way.
Some people are very generous
After my most recent post, three exceptional human beings donated to our Movember team. So thank you very much Julie, Karen and Marta. It is really appreciated.
But for those of you who don’t see me regularly, and who want me to prove that I really am growing a mo…here are some progress shots
If this isn’t enough to shame you into a donation…then you are dead to me.
Like most men I’m not afraid of having a moustache, nor am I afraid of not having a moustache. But what I am afraid of is the horrible limbo that exists between having a moustache and not having a moustache…at best you look like the bass player in an average rock cover band, at worst you look like a teenager trying to trick the guy at the bottle shop that you really are over 18.
That’s the beauty of Movember, you get 30 days to try and work your way through this limbo with relative social humiliation impunity. So I’ve decided to give it a go… Now I’m No Expert But here are my experiences thus far.
What mo to go with?
It’s not until you consider growing a mo that you realise just how enigmatic they are. On the right person they can convey power and authority (think Dennis Lillee, a policeman, or my father in law). Combined with rock stardom they can convert a not so attractive man into virile stallion (think Lemmy from Motorhead or Freddy Mercury). They can even define a man (think John Waters, Adolf Hitler or Boony).
But they are also the domain of the second hand car sales man, the creepy PE teacher and bikie gangs. And if you want to be a captain of industry or the leader of a country (one that hasn’t been taken over in a military coup), then no moustache for you!
So when it comes to choosing a mo for yourself, what do you go with? I’ve seen both my cousin Austin and fellow Movember teammate Eugenio converted from friendly and approachable to ‘underworld standover man’ simply by having a handlebar moustache. I’ve seen photos of my Dad when he had a mo and was affectionately known as ‘Shifty the Pimp’. I’ve seen men walking the streets with mos and thought ‘Yeah…nah. That doesn’t work’. And of course I’m also painfully aware that genetically I am not pre-disposed to growing facial hair. So as much as I would like to go with something intimidating or something ornate that requires wax…I’m just going to settle for something Clark Gable-esque.
How to grow the Mo.
A dodgy beard or a dodgy goatee will always look better than a dodgy mo…so for safety I recommend you grow out a beard and then trim it back to a mo once you have sufficient growth.
But if you are doing Movember, then you are morally obliged to just grow the mo. You may look like a dodgy teenager. You may get wry smiles or stifled sniggers…but that is burden you have to bear.
So how’s my progress?
Well here’s my progress from day 1 to day 7
I think it’s fair to say it’s sketchy at best. But there is potential!
What have I learnt in my first week?
- I have a very tolerant wife
- I will need all 30 days to come up with something half decent
- There are some grey hairs in my beard…GREY HAIRS!
- Sometimes you forget you even have a mo, until you catch your reflection or you see someone sniggering
- Nobody respects a man in his late 30’s with the moustache of 16 year old
I’m fascinated, how can I find out more?
You can head to my Mospace page , check out the daily photos…and ideally donate some money towards men’s health. At the very least, get me above $0!