For several years during my early twenties I dressed myself in charity shop clothes. Turning up for lectures looking like Peter Wyngarde in Jason King felt good. On the other hand, being told by a complete stranger in a pub that my ‘retro’ t-shirt was actually the current PE kit of a local girls school was somewhat embarrassing.
Now, it’s no coincidence that I’ve opened this blog post with a reference to the mustachioed Peter Wyngarde, because his main facial attribute is now inextricably linked to November. I am, of course, talking about Movemeber, when men everywhere spend the month cultivating moustaches that range from pitiful, fluffy lip-ticklers to elaborate feats of engineering. It may only be a slight change in appearance, but it feels as awkward as venturing out in public trialling a single hooped earring. It’s a little bit, well, embarrassing. (In the same way that unknowingly wearing a girls PE kit in public – thinking you’re the personification of retro chic – is embarrassing.)
But it’s for charity! And as I’ve never done so much as vomit a few hundred yards from the start-line of a charity fun run, I thought it was about time I did my bit. For prostate cancer, in this case.
Thankfully, I’ve never lost any of my family to cancer, prostate or otherwise. But I do know people – who know people – who’ve either been diagnosed and treated for a form of cancer or succumbed to the ravages of the disease. For instance, my mum sadly lost a close friend to cancer earlier this year (bowel, lungs, brain, pancreas). And I used to vaguely know someone who was treated for testicular cancer a few years back. Cancer in general is never too far from our lives.
My dad is also in the 50+ age range (he’s 62, to be precise) which means he has a higher risk of developing something like prostate cancer. Apparently, he’s not regularly screened for prostate cancer, but when I visited home recently he’d been sent some kind of sample kit for bowel cancer (which is an annual test). It was like a Fisher Price ‘My First Stool Sample’. There was a small plastic receptacle, a ladle, a paper hat, a whistle, and a return address so that he could send a small piece shit through the post, like a twisted stalker communicating with an ex-lover.
Still, I can’t tell you how glad I am that he’s doing tests like that. Although, I’d like him to have a regular check for prostate cancer too.
Anyway, like I said, I’m currently growing a moustache to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer. Why am I telling you this? Because I’m awkwardly trying to ask you to donate some money! I’ve quickly realised that the reason I don’t do charity is because I’m too shy to ask people for anything. I’m already two weeks into the moustache-growing process and I haven’t raised a single penny.
Aside from the fact that we live in austere times, you might have already donated to someone taking part in Movember. Most of you will already have received begging messages and photos from male friends who either look like paedophiles on Rav’s Crimewatch photowall or Ron Jeremy’s offspring. If you have donated, well done! You have my permission to politely ignore this blog post (well, it’s for charity, so try and spread the world to help me out a little bit).
There have also been numerous charity drives on Twitter recently for very worthy causes. You might be sick to death of being asked for money, which is perfectly understandable. “Hey, everyone! I’m going to put all my worldly possessions through a wood chipper, have the pieces compacted into a toxic flan, then eat it all…for charity! PLEASE RT!”
But having said all this, if you can spare even a few quid for my Movember efforts – I’d be very grateful indeed. I don’t want to be empty handed at the end of the month. That’d be more embarrassing than my laughable facial hair.
Some men have moustaches that look like they’ve been hand-carved from solid oak. Their stubble just grows that way, which means they have nothing to be embarrassed about. They can wear their moustaches with pride. One example of a moustache that means business was worn by Friedrich Nietzsche. In some photos he looks like he’s midway through devouring a longhaired guinea pig. I’d give anything for a Friedrich Nietzsche. But unfortunately my ‘moustache’ looks like an over-enthusiastic toddler has stabbed wildly at my top lip with a biro. It’s rubbish. And as such, it’ll be a million times more embarrassing to have on show.
But I will have it on show. For one month. For charity. So please, give me your bloody money!
A Twitter friend of mine very kindly donated some money yesterday and revealed that her father is currently being treated for prostate cancer. That, right there, is the reason for all this moustache business. From behind the pitiful fluff on my top lip, I wish her father well. So please, donate if you can. Thanks.
To see how much I raised, why not try this page?