Since, I dunno, a few years ago when someone in Australia decided that prostate cancer needed more attention than it was getting, men across the UK (and other regions of the globe) have spent the month of November growing moustaches (i.e. rows of neatly trimmed facial pubic hair* on their upper lips) in order to raise money and awareness for the prostate cancer cause. I’m a bit torn as to how I feel about this. On the one hand cancer of any type is a vile and life-destroying and every shade of hideous; surely anything that raises money for a cure or alerts folks to symptoms is a Good Thing (and if you think so, you can donate here). On the other hand: no.
And it’s not just because I find moustaches sexually repulsive that I’m writing this blog. I mean, I don’t have enough sex for that to be a problem, they can always be shaved off as part of a kinky foreplay ritual, and anyway, even I’m not that selfish. Plus, some stylish men (no, I can’t name any) are able to wear a moustache in a way that enhances their beauty. For me the whole thing is a problem for another set of reasons.
Movember, despite being an ostensibly light hearted, worthy event is an example to my mind of the worst kind of Britishness – despite the fact that it is a worldwide thing. The gusto with which the Brits have embraced the movement is characteristic of British eccentricity; our national flaw. Movember embodies the same kind of wallyish humour as fancy dress afro-wigs (which regular readers may recall I have previously expressed distaste for), and those plastic union jack hats people wore for the jubilee. I don’t know how you feel, but I personally take absolutely no pride in the fact that daft eccentricity is part of our international identity. Making yourself look unattractive for a short period, for charity, is not something I imagine people in serious countries, like, say, the Ukraine, would do with such fervour.
While you might well think me a humourless, heartless kill-joy I’m not going to apologise. I am going to make a contentious tongue-in-cheek conflation to illustrate my point instead. Very recently, our national habit of mindlessly embracing the eccentric who raises money for charity was revealed as potentially sinister when it we discovered that celebrity eccentric Sir Jimmy Savile had been molesting children and vulnerable women for the entirety of his career. Despite all the signs he gave us: incoherently repeating nonsensical phrases like ‘now then’, leering after pre-teens and wearing outlandish sportswear while puffing on a massive cigar – we turned a blind eye to Savile’s obvious sexism and blatant paedophilia, gave him a knighthood, and laid his body in state – as other counties might a great leader – because he’d raised a few million pounds for charity while simultaneously appearing as a total weirdo in public. I’m not saying the Movember lot are all creepy paedos; I’m just pointing out that raising dollar for good causes does not dismiss other flaws – like having no sense of humour or groping little children.
What has any of this got to do with being single? Well, I’m not saying I’d say no to a Movember man necessarily (my womb wants babies too badly, and I’m sure many of them are right lovely). I’m just pointing out that when you’re a bit put off by the whole idea of relationships anyway streets filled with thousands of men with moustaches and smug grins that suggest pride in their ability to be Good People, demonstrate their GSOH and raise money for charity do make you fairly pleased to be single. I am planning a tour of the serious countries of Eastern Europe next summer though, and I’m hoping that during my trip I’ll find a burly, witty, foreign intellectual who refuses to engage in humourless lols for street cred.
I’m not sure you’ll be wishing me luck.
*while I might be into letting genital pubic hair run free I am afraid that I’m not so liberal when it comes to pubic hair of the face. And this isn’t a sexist thing; I have a single black hair that grows out of my chin, like a kind of menstrual alarm clock, every month a couple of days before I’m due on. There is no way I would let this grow for charity. I use a sharpened pair of tweezers to pluck it from the follicle as soon as it appears in the hope that no one will ever realise I am a fully grown woman whose body experiences normal hormonal changes. Except on days like today when I forget, and have to spend office hours with my hand cupped over my chin, as though I am pondering important thoughts, so that people don’t notice The Big Black Hair.