His moustache is growing more quickly than mine

It is Movember... it happens each November and, according to its website (uk.movember.com), Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in the UK and around the world. There are also ways for women to take part.

The aim is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Men’s things.

It is a very noble cause and one I wholeheartedly support. I just wish my husband wasn’t taking part. I like him clean-shaven although I have often had to put up with his beard when he grows it for the purposes of his frequent thespian activities.

Moustaches and beards prickle. You move in for a passionate kiss and get acupuncture instead. So, obviously, I won’t let him anywhere near me when he is sprouting bristles.

Apart from a moratorium on close physical contact during the period of rehearsals and the week of the show, I am generally understanding... as long as the offending beard and moustache is shaved off directly after the last performance.

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The sorts of roles that require such hirsuteness include King Arthur in the musical Camelot, Shylock in Merchant of Venice, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Bill Hickock in Calamity Jane, Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew/Kiss Me Kate, Henry VIII in anything, and just about any male role in Fiddler on the Roof.

Fortunately, my husband’s beard grows quite quickly so it’s never hung around too long in the in-betweeny, neither-one-thing-nor-the-other state and so he hasn’t had to endure a prolonged (so-called) “designer stubble” stage which, to my mind, makes men look a bit unwashed and louche but not entirely undesirable. (Brad Pitt apply here, now... don’t bring the Chanel No 5.)

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A few years ago, however, my beloved (husband, not Brad Pitt) was deeply saddened to find his usually ginger-flecked dark beard was growing through grey and, since then, he has not accepted roles that require a full beard with his previous alacrity.

So it was a bit of a surprise when he suddenly announced, on October 31, that he might grow a moustache for Movember. Or, at least, it would have been a surprise if I’d been listening.

“That’s nice, dear,” I said. He had caught me halfway through a killer sudoku when my attentions were divided (75:25 sudoku:husband).

“So you think it would be a good idea?”

“Absolutely...” So that 14 can’t be the sum of six and eight so it must be nine and five.


“You don’t think I’ll look too much like my dad?”

His late father always wore a carefully-trimmed moustache.

“Of course not.” So that must mean the 15 must be seven and eight rather than nine and six.

“I’ll start tomorrow.”

And he did, registering online and starting to raise sponsorship from his work colleagues – one of whom has said she will decide how much to donate based on the luxuriance of his moustache.

He now has significant, mostly grey, upper-lip growth although not yet fully abundant or profuse. He is also growing something small and intriguing under his lower lip which, I am assured, is well on trend. Hurrumph.

I will not be sponsoring the moustache. It would be like saying I never want to be kissed again but I don’t mind being impaled. I shall pay good money to see it come off.

Meanwhile, a dear female friend, slightly younger than me but suffering similar symptoms, observed that maybe the two of us could also take part in the Movember thing... after all, she said, we do have the occasional whiskery outbreak, don’t we?

I laughed the manic cackle of a woman who knows she could indeed grow a reasonable moustache, given sufficient time, inclination and a broomstick.

Whether it’s because of fading oestrogen levels or increasing testosterone, I am hairier than I used to be in some places though less hairy than I was in others.

My legs which, once upon a time, could have provided enough hair to fashion a shirt for the most avid breast-beating penitent, are now completely bald. My formerly soft and downy chin, meanwhile, now produces an occasional bristle strong enough to refurbish a scrubbing brush.

And, before you ask, yes, I do have one and yes, I suppose that would make me an old scrubber.

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