It's become acceptable to use charity to win oneself attention. It is an opportunity for people to try and make their pedestrian lives seem a little more interesting and to gain some kind of adulation or colourful life experience that they otherwise do not deserve or could not afford.
Movember is the latest, most pathetically weak and most transparent example. Young men, it seems, are only willing to put their skinny jeans behind scientific efforts to beat and treat prostate cancer if they are simultaneously allowed to peacock themselves around the place showing off a strip of fluff on their top lip. If I see a guy with a moustache this month, I don't think he's clever, kooky and kind. I think he's a nit.
Once, the moustache represented that Victorian blend of style, conformity and sensibility. Now, it indicates that you are using a deadly disease to try and pin some personality on your face.
Of course, anything that pumps more money into such a valuable and important charitable cause has to be a good thing overall. Movember raised £92m last year worldwide. It's not the good cause I loathe, it's the people who adopt it, their true motivation for adopting it and the very fact that the event is able to take advantage of their weakness with such forensic manipulation. Major charities today are every bit as cunning as multinational corporations when it comes to shoving the heaving, thoughtless, jibbering masses in any desired direction. Just as sticking a few names on Coca Cola bottles managed to get everyone racing to corner shops to find a little piece of themselves stamped on a meaningless bottle, so the mega-fundraisers are able to invent campaigns which feed off our vanity and hunger for a sense of community. We are together as one, because we have a moustache.
Race for Life is another example. A mass-waddling of women in pink T-shirts, pretending they're doing exercise for half an hour before driving straight to the nearest supermarket for crisps, sandwiches and “healthy” biscuit bars, thus increasing their chances of getting bowel cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Perhaps they should be 'racing' for those causes three times a week until they're actually healthy? It’s true that many will be thinking of lost loved ones as they stroll along in their leggings and pristine trainers. And their desire to help combat breast cancer is sincere enough. But it can't be a particularly profound cause for the majority of the wibblers, otherwise they would regularly donate money without having to pretend to run around a lake.
And the same goes for the 'Mo Bros'. If you care about prostate cancer, donate £50 to a cancer charity. Do it quietly, decently, with dignity and humility. Don't stick a big, fat label on your mouth shouting “look at me! I'm a good person and I'm also original...like what all my mates and colleagues are...”
Just to make it more nauseating, the organisers also invented the term 'Mo Sistas' to allow girlfriends to get in on the act. They knew, you see, that lads would be unwilling to help battle cancer if it stopped them getting their nuts off. So...appeal to the tangle-haired Jack Willettes. LOL...OMG my BF has totally grown a moustache because I, like, told him too! We're such a cute couple, yeah? YOLO!
Movember is particularly irksome for people who already have moustaches. My very good friend Dean has been sporting a lovely, twizzled moustache for around 6 years now. He didn't do it out of some childish, contrived sense of fashion. He is just one of those men - a rare and wonderful breed - who suit a moustache and somehow just....have one. It's a quiet moustache, as though it's always been there. It doesn't campaign, it doesn't grandstand, it doesn't cajole. It just sits on his lip, keeping Dean company in the bookshop or coffee house, wiggling every so often in a show of support for his nose. Yet poor Dean is now subjected to an annual month-long trial, where everyone he meets asks - with the blank-eyed lambish naievety perfected by contemporary society - whether he is 'doing Movember?' No, he will answer politely, for that is his constant demeanour. And then a pause as the idiot who asked the question wonders why anybody would grow a moustache without sponsorship. I expect they think Franz Ferdinand and General Kitchener were hirsute only because their mates said they'd give 'em a fiver to grow a 'tash.
I propose an alternative to Movember. It's where you don't grow a moustache but you still give money to charity! We'd need to rebrand the month though. We'll call it No-vember.
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