Harry Tattersall Smith
What do Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and the Chuckle Brothers have in common? If you’re wondering whether Barry and Paul have recently been involved in mass genocide then, as far as I am aware, you’d be wrong. They are in fact all advocates of something society — and perhaps more importantly, testosterone — has denied me until now: a moustache.
This month it’s Movember, the one month of the year when ludicrous facial fluff can happily sprout on top lips across the world, secure in the knowledge that it can’t be ridiculed because it’s all for a good cause. Movember originated in Australia with the aim of raising awareness around men’s health issues and prostate cancer in particular.
So, for one month only, my flatmates and I will be transformed from mere grubby students into the Ron Burgundys and Tom Sellecks of this world. Maybe we’ll lack the cool — we’ll definitely lack the sex appeal — but come join us on the emotional rollercoaster that is growing facial hair for charity.
There’s a part of me that resents not discovering this Antipodean-based phenomenon earlier: it would have made rationalising numerous dubious high school facial hair-based mistakes that bit easier. Throughout my school days I had a permanent shadow nestled over my top lip. Greasy and spotty, its very emergence went some way to comforting me about the fact that puberty, currently ransacking my body,at least had some benefits.
Yet, when worn correctly, a moustache can have its perks. It can be the ideal accessory in bluffing your way to a new intellectual look. Here’s my foolproof guide to lording it over the library. 1. Take an unnecessarily large pile of books and grab a central seat to maximise exposure. 2. Stare furiously at computer, stroke facial hair and concentrate on looking pensive. 3. Revel in the looks of jealous admiration. There’s a science behind this: Einstein? Moustache. Descartes? Moustache. Adam Smith? Arty goatee. Think about it. Geniuses all tend to model some kind of facial hair. A coincidence? Ha! I think not.
I’m hoping that my moustache will have therapeutic qualities as well. I might make it a personal mission to try and confront society’s general suspicion towards all things mustached. It’s true that when it comes to the tousled top lip, we’re all just a little bit prejudiced. Be it due to the anally retentive uncle with the military background who comes over all OCD when it comes to the taming of the ‘tache, or the creepy old man in the corner of the pub who hasn’t stopped glaring at you all night and whose moustache seems almost alive, bathed in spittle and stout, his horrible lady-tickler perched almost precariously above a set of set rotting, nicotine-stained gnashers, moustaches don’t have the best reputation.
Ultimately, the fear is that three weeks or so in, I’ll be reproached by somebody disgusted by my shocking lack of committal. To which I’ll sheepishly have to reply that, “no, in fact, I’ve not shaved — ok? My ethno-genetic make up just doesn’t contain the right balance of proteins, hormones and amino acids to effectively produce hair follicles at an accelerated rate, alright? Jeez.” And they’ll probably laugh. And I’ll probably laugh. And then I’ll probably go home and cry.