We’re well into November now and everywhere I look moustaches are establishing themselves above the lips of men of my acquaintance.
Movember is here again and stuff is sprouting under male noses in the name of men’s health awareness.
You’ve got to hand it to the organisers. A simple concept which captured the imagination of men worldwide combining vanity, curiosity and charity, has resulted in global facial fuzz.
Facial hair pundits have been claiming for a while that we’ve reached ‘peak beard’ but the fashion for face fur continues unabated.
The beard has become ubiquitous. Think Graham Norton, Brad Pitt, David Beckham… Even Gary Barlow has a touch of Father Christmas going on. The times, they sure are a-changing.
Think back to the eighties, a time of New Romantic androgyny. None of the boys in Spandau Ballet or Duran Duran let any hair grow south of their eyebrows. If you fancied them with a beard, you had to draw it on your poster yourself.
George Michael (RIP) must have been shaving five times a day to keep his stubble in check while he was in Wham!…
Beards and moustaches were expressions of a certain kind of masculinity. The sort of masculinity that you found on a golf course, behind a glass of Johnnie Walker or in a cheap hotel conference room.
Beards were disguises. Men hid secrets behind them – a thin top lip, a lengthy chin – and fragments of food and saliva in them.
But Movember has changed all that.
The beard and moustache combo is edgy, homely, artistic, avant-garde.
Everyone (and I include myself in this) wants to grow one (who knows, when the hormone balance changes, maybe my dream will come true).
The thing about Movember 2017 is that, because facial hair has become achingly fashionable, it’s no longer the ironic, mildly humiliating hardship it once was.
Moustaches in the late part of the twentieth century belonged to the terminally uncool, the middle aged, comic characters, the gay, and serial killers.
Let’s take a look at the evidence.
Terminally Uncool: Tony Adams (Adam Chance from ‘Crossroads’), Steve Wright, Mr Oliver (my A level French teacher who had crimped hair, a bordering-on-handlebar moustache and sideburns). (I’m pretty sure it’s only this category he belongs to.)
Middle Aged: Michael Fish, Brian Murphy (George from ‘George and Mildred’), Trevor McDonald.
Comic Characters as played by Peter Sellers, John Cleese, Terry Thomas, Leslie Phillips.
Gay: Freddie Mercury, Paul Rutherford, John Waters.
Serial Killers: Peter Moor, John Duffy, Peter Sutcliffe, Harold Shipman.
On the other side of the moustachioed divide, the gorgeously clean shaven Richard Beckinsale, Dave from Showaddywaddy, Clive James, Tony Hadley (yes, I am listing my early crushes), Jim Dale, Jason Donovan and Andrew Hall (Russell in ‘Butterflies’). (There are more, but this is enough insight.)
You can probably think of your own moustache-free sex gods.
See what I mean? Nobody wanted to get it on with Michael Fish. The kind of masculinity we found attractive came with a Gillette.
When my (now) husband grew a beard for a part in a play, which group would he have fitted into? I’m sorry to say, the fur frame gave him the look of someone straight outta Crimewatch.
Now, I’m just itching to see if I’d still think that, or, if with some ‘product’ he could look as desirable as the newly bearded George Clooney.
The thing about the times we live in now is that wherever there’s a good idea which catches on with the public, there’s a marketing man.
Facial hair is a huge business opportunity. Those lucky enough to have a bearded bloke in their life don’t know they’re born. How easy Christmas must be for you!
Don’t know what I’m talking about? Why then, you have not explored the commercial world of facial hair.
For anywhere upwards of a fiver you can treat your bearded one to beard oil. You know the stuff; it’s like olive oil, or baby oil, but with the word ‘beard’ stuck in front of it. What a wheeze!
But if you want to get more exotic, a trawl of the internet will throw up a seemingly infinite number of the following:
Beard growth accelerator
Beard mirror (presumable triangular?)
Beard styling cream
Beard care book
Beards are driving the economy, people.
So, a message to the Mo Bros in these uncertain times: don’t start shaving now. We need you!
Long live the moustachioed! Viva the bearded diva!