If you’ve not yet been accosted by a man with a moustache demanding money you soon will be. Men across the world are finding out for the first time if they could be Errol Flynn, Burt Reynolds or Ming the Merciless, and, because it’s for charity it can be done with impunity and free from ridicule, well almost. It’s Movember, the month when men across the world grow a moustache with the intention of raising money for research into prostate cancer. Having reached forty earlier this year it became clear to me that so little is now expected from my appearance and so few either notice or care these days what I look like, that adorning myself with the worlds least fashionable facial accessory was now a serious option. Being fashion unconscious has suddenly opened many new doors.

Raising money for prostate cancer research is a pretty worthy cause and should be enough in its own right to seduce me into doing my bit, but in truth it wasn’t, what clinched it for me is just how great a piece of marketing it is. I’m in awe. It’s brilliant, you basically don’t have to do anything except guilt some friends into giving you money. Plus, and this is important, it becomes competitive! Not only the raising money bit but also the growing of the ‘tache bit, in fact the latter probably more so. I met my brother-in-law at the weekend who is also taking part and couldn’t help but notice that his was, well, better. He looks like he might have played bass in the Eagles or Boston whilst I look like a guy I used to sit next to in English in third year.

But make no mistake this is a genius concept. As is so often the case the best ideas are the simplest ones, whatever it is that’s being promoted. It would have been impossible to do a male version of the ‘pink ribbon’ idea, men wouldn’t have minded the raising and giving money bit but actually getting them to wear a ‘ribbon’ style badge or similar would be a huge challenge; and wearing the ‘badge’ is what raises the awareness and saves the lives. The ‘tache is so much better than a ‘ribbon’, everyone, and I mean everyone, asks about it. I can’t forget to put it onto my other jacket and I can’t lose it, it’s there all month come what may.

I’ve another 15 days to go, during which time hopefully I’ll raise a bit more money, maybe learn and teach a bit more about one of the biggest killers of men in the UK today and if not quite emulate Tom Selleck in his Magnum days or even create a more impressive one than my brother-in-law then at least one that doesn’t look like it belongs to a pubescent teenage boy.
Of course if you feel so inclined you can find out a bit more about Movember here, and even donate something too.