Movember is over. You may kiss me now


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The Independent Online

Read my lip: it's over. The fuzz is finished. For me, as for an estimated million "mo bros" around the world, the end came around nine o'clock yesterday morning, as with mixed emotions I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and finally took a razor to four weeks of facial growth. Yes, my first Movember had run its course. So what have I learnt from the experience?

1. Some people won't like it …

"What I look for mostly in a man," the Oscar-winning actress Sally Field once said, "is humour, honesty, and a moustache." It's a sentiment with which, I now realise, many of those closest to me would violently disagree. What was I expecting? I'm not sure – though swooning and the mouthing of the words "Clark" and "Gable" may have been involved. Whatever I imagined, it certainly wasn't the near-total hostility of my own dear wife ("Get away from me!") and darling children ("So embarrassing!") that I was to experience during my charity-fundraising efforts.

2. But others will …

Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise to learn that people's enthusiasm for my 'tache could be measured in inverse proportion to the obligation they felt to kiss me. So, for my family, it was a thing of shame and horror, but for friends and colleagues, it was a gateway to much mickey-taking. "All right, Wing Commander?" my boss would shout across the office, to great amusement, several times a day. Facebook friends and playground dads likened me to Adolf Hitler and Blakey out of On the Buses. No one compared me with Brad Pitt, or even Clark Gable.

3. There's a whole new language to be learnt

From the "philtrum" (the bit above your mouth but under your nose) to the "burnside" (a bushy style of moustache named after the US General), via the "alum block" (used by barbers to stop bleeding) and the "petit handlebar" (as favoured by Hercule Poirot), there's a rich world out there waiting to be discovered. For more information on this, and other styles – including my favourite, the "laser loop" (which ends in a figure of eight at either side) – see Lucien Edwards's Moustache Grower's Guide (Chronicle, £5.99).

4. A month isn't enough …

The world record for moustache length is held by Badamsinh Juwansinh Gurjar, a whiskery Indian whose pride and joy extends to a scarcely comprehensible 12ft 6in. By contrast, I managed about half an inch – plenty to cover my top lip, but not enough to be teased, twisted and waxed in all the ways I'd imagined. A Dalí, or even a Poirot, let alone a laser loop, is not in four weeks made; the moral may be to limber up in Moctober….

5. Despite all this, I'll do it again

Last year, the Movember Foundation raised £79.3m for men's health causes, making it the single biggest funder of prostate cancer research in the world. That's not bad for an idea dreamt up in 2003 by four Aussies in a Melbourne pub – and why, despite it all, I'll probably risk the wrath of family and ridicule of friends again next year. My children may hate it, but Sally Field would understand.