Wednesday, 7 December 2011

I am sorry Gary Lineker for my Movember mistake

This appeared in the Bath Chronicle on December 1 - the day 'Movember' ended

I feel I owe an apology to Gary Lineker.

Ok, I know the splendid Mr Lineker will have no idea that I’ve apologised to him but I still feel I needed to publically get it off my chest.

And it’s all because of that curious but rather wonderful invention we call Movember.

Years ago, someone told me that Gary Lineker, he of Spurs, England and Match Of The Day fame, was incapable of growing a moustache or beard. I was told (and probably tellingly I can’t for the life of me remember who by) that he couldn’t grow any facial hair at all and that is why his chin always looked as smooth as a billiard ball when he was on the telly.

And I have told loads of people this 'odd fact you may not know about a celebrity' ever since.

So, when Movember began and someone suggested I tried growing a tash, I said I thought I would look ridiculous and said ‘no’. I also added that I actually wished I could be like that nice Mr Lineker and not have to even bother with dragging a naked blade over my face every morning.

So imagine how much egg yolk I felt on my still clean shaven face, as I watched Mr Lineker join in the Movember campaign and go on to grow more facial hair in  a few weeks than I think I could muster in six months.

Gary's Gillette-avoiding month is/was of course all for a good cause  – as it is with all the other people who have signed up for the Movember initiative.

If you aren’t aware, the idea of the Movember campaign is to get people to grow taches to raise funds to highlight male health problems – particularly sensitive cancers such as prostate and testicular. Men aren’t very good at talking about their health but when it comes to those difficult bits “down there” we find it even more uncomfortable.

So the Movember campaign aims to raise money to fight these cancers – and just as importantly get us talking about them as well. And that is why you will have seen many people sporting uncharacteristic facial growth during last month.

Of course, this situation does lead you into somewhat tricky situations.

At the Bath Chronicle business breakfast last week there were two particularly hairy ‘mos’ on offer but I had to gingerly ask both people if they were sporting them for the cause or not. If of course I got it wrong it it would be the equivalent of saying were they were wearing their lip adornment for a bet when it may well have been a prized permanent feature. And it could also lead to the sort of embrassment to be found by asking a slightly overweight lady when the baby was due...

The truth is moustaches definitely suit some people better than others and I have to confess I haven’t got involved in Movember because I’m convinced I would fall into the “others” category. I suspect I would look like some bad 1970s German porn actor with a wispy bit of blond fluff on top of my lip.

Of course, the whole point is it shouldn’t matter what you look like. It’s all about raising funds and awareness – and so I hereby offer my column/blog as part of that awareness campaign and salute all those braver souls than me who have collectively raised more than £50 million in recent years as a result of throwing away their razors.

Today, December 1, should see all those unwanted taches disappear but let’s hope, however, that debate about the male issues involved does not end.

We owe it to all the ‘mo’ wearers to keep talking – and I particularly owe it to Gary “The Tache” Lineker.

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