What is so funny about facial hair? First I saw them on jumpers. You know the ones I mean, the curly French moustaches printed onto the cheap material that Top Shop charges you a whole month’s wages for? Yeah, those ones. Then, I saw people going to the lengths of getting a PERMENANT TATTOO of the same kind of moustaches on their fingers in order to induce facial hair based hilarity every time they lifted said finger to their upper lip. Now, I see it is “Movember,” a stroke of genius in which the “No” has been taken out of November and replaced with “Mo,” short for Moustache. I would like to bring the No back to November. No. No. No. No.
No to this facial hair frivolity. Facial hair is not funny. Just across the border, gentlemen, in Lady Land (a bit like Lego Land without the Lego, well a bit but not as much) facial hair is regarded as quite the opposite. Facial hair is a curse. Facial hair is an 11 year old girl standing in front of the mirror after a day of name calling, attempting to remove the hair from her upper lip with her mother’s nail file until it bled. TRUE STORY. Facial hair is time. Facial hair is money. Facial hair is pain.
I pretty much have to do something about my facial hair every twelve seconds. But for the other 11 seconds, I can forget about it, I can live my life. That is, until Movember comes along. Movember encourages people to sponsor men to grow their facial hair throughout the month for charity. It’s a bit like if I asked you to sponsor me for staying alive for a whole twenty eight days of the year. Apparently it’s all a great big laugh and, most importantly, it’s all for chariddee so it makes you feel all warm inside. Aww.
Now I’m not badmouthing chariddee. I bloody love it. In fact, last night I ate six whole packs of Jaffa Cakes in the name of chariddee. But wouldn’t it be more fun to challenge a gender stereotype rather than reinforce it? How about if the money that each individual Movember participant raised went towards each man removing the same amount of hair that a woman is expected to remove and then their attempts to maintain that lack of hair for the next month? They might need some extra money on top of what they have already raised seeing how bloody expensive hair removal actually is.
Sure, the chariddee would miss out. But there are other months in the year. You could have Ray instead of May where you sponsor people to change their name to Ray for the month. Imagine the comical situations one would find one’s self in there. Instead, the male population would get the tiniest window of insight into the pressure society places upon women to look a certain way. Perhaps they would become more sympathetic. Perhaps women could lead a public life and be judged for the brain in between their ears and not the hair in between their eyebrows.
The trouble is this hatred of hair, spawned from a fear of ethnicity and a desire to infantilise women into pre-pubescent blonde haired, blue eyed voids, has become so ingrained within us that we ourselves loath the sight of it in others. I made a half hearted attempt to join Armpits for August last summer, an organisation that encouraged people to sponsor women forgoing shaving their armpit hair for a month. “Now this I like,” I thought to myself. “This certainly challenges gender stereotypes.” And yet on day four I shaved off my armpit hair in disgust. Why? Because armpit hair is yucky.
So you see I’ve now dug myself into a metaphorical hole. I know it is wrong to conform to these unrealistic and unhelpful expectations of female hair removal, but I keep doing it. It’s a bit late for Armpits for August now for you see, my armpits won’t be shown for some months now and I can’t make a protest with something that I am keeping hidden. If only there were some kind of event going on right now, an event aimed at men, but that women could reclaim for themselves? An event that we initially saw as stupid, but an event never the less that we could actually use to make a statement, a statement of tolerance, a statement of freedom from the daily torture that we put ourselves through each day. (Or every other day. But mostly every day. I really am quite hairy.) That’s it everyone, I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I am growing my moustache for Movember.