My First Movember: Christopher Sharpe, Week 4

Movember virgin Christopher takes a philosophical approach this week, wondering what exactly Movember means and where moustache inspiration comes from. Answer: everywhere. Bloody everywhere. 

Christopher Sharpe week 4

Christopher Sharpe, day twenty-three

It’s the final countdown, the home stretch, and with a week to go I’ve become pretty preoccupied with the history and psychology of facial hair. What a wanker.

Approximately 55% of the world’s males have facial hair of some orientation, trimmage or general beinghood, so there’s nothing especially spectacular or unique about my quasi-mo. Even its general terribleness is nowt to write home about. Or write a month-long guest column about. Who does that?

That’s a stupendous number, containing men of all colours, shapes, sizes and personalities with facial hair to match (yep, beards have personalities, mine would be a grumpy fella named Gerald who appreciates a good short-crust pie and has always secretly wanted to be a salsa dancer).

Similarly, inspiration for their mutton chops, pencil moustaches and Shenandoahs runs the gamut, ranging from a conscious expression of supreme social status to outright slackerdom. Consequently, not since Paleolithic men had beards for warmth, protection, and general badassery, has there been any real concrete reason for letting your face forest run wild. That’s where Movember steps in.

Movember, specific capsule of mass increasing bushiness that it is, has tapped into a biological, primal resource – one of the most overt demarcators of what makes a man a man – and seized upon it to turn into a billboard. Some chaps from down under have surveyed the real estate above your gob, had a sly dig about the Ashes score, and then turned it into a tool for a very worthy cause.

The cause for their steadily increasing success since 2004, then, is that it’s within your very nature to grow it. With that sense of not necessarily a return to, but an allowance of, nature to take its course, comes one of those things about being human we generally take to be most natural – our impetus towards the collectivistic, our desire for and sense of society.

The charity plays up this connectedness constantly. You’re encouraged upon signing up to join or start a ‘wolf pack’, to pull your place of work or educational establishment together as part of ‘Generation Mo’, and then social network your way to donations galore. Soon enough the word of mo is everywhere and it’s all gone a bit V for Vendetta. Spotting a tache on the tube is the new I-Spy. You turn on the telly and there’s a legion of rugby players now with hairy daemons to mirror your own… or, you know, are somewhat better at moustaches. Oh, and rugby. Manliness. Impressing your significant other. Life.

Fundamentally, this re-appropriation of all things moustache has worked to unleash it as a reciprocative force of positivity – more than they probably ever hoped – for both the proprietor and the world at large. In short, it’s one of the finest gimmicks I’ve ever encountered.

In my first blog I wondered about the way moustaches are perceived, fretting slightly on the associations with and damage done by their spotted history. However, my experience over the last few days especially has all been rather lovely, as summed up by a little exchange I had earlier this week: walking into the staff room kitchen to resolve an urgent caffeine twitch, I bumped into a fellow tache farmer, and offered him a compliment for his sturdy little number. “Thanks,” came the response, “it’s actually kind of growing on me.”

Thanks for your hairy ponderings Christopher, we look forward to seeing your moustache’s grand finale next weekend as Movember draws to a close. Donate to his Movember campaign here.

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About Francesca Peak

Lifestyle, arts and culture journalist.
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