My name is Jeyda and I am co-founder of Handlebars (now named Fettle), female and currently sporting a ‘tache in the name of charity. It’s now day 10 of Movember and I’ve remained steadfast and solemn in my promise to wear it for the whole month. There’s been a decent amount of surprise from friends, colleagues, customers, potential investors & strangers on the tube. Here are some of the lessons learnt so far...
Some people feel too awkward to address the matter
I’ve found that the world is essentially divided into people of two camps - those who address the matter of a woman in a moustache head on, and those who don’t. For the latter type (who will still steal what they think to be conspicuous glances at my upper lip), I revel in exacerbating their social anxiety over the matter - continuing to talk with a completely straight face & watching the anguish as they internally question whether I know about the large amount of fur under my nostrils.
Moustaches reduce catcalling
I can wear a moustache in the street and although I’ve still received the odd wolf-whistle / leery comment, I’ve also had the joy of hearing men reprimanding their creepy friends because ‘she looks like a man bruv!’. Sheer joy.
Food & drink really is a struggle with a ‘tache
I’m a messy eater at the best of times but that’s never normally a problem when you can simply wipe yourself clean when you’re done vacuuming the food in front of you. With a ‘tache however, after a moist meal or frothy coffee, you never quite feel clean. My sympathies go out to the hairy men out there.
Moustaches provide constant tickling, sneezy sensation
Having something furry, permanently resting under your septum is a recipe for sneezing. It’s a bizarre feeling that you’re always semi-consciously aware of. It feels like you’re constantly battling against a flurry of ridiculous sneezes. I’ve developed a theory about this. Is the moustache something that men use in order to always have an easy way out of a dull conversation? As soon as the chat takes a boring turn just succumbing to the overpowering urge to sneeze and being able to excuse yourself immediately? I’ll be watching out for bouts of sneezes from moustached men following on from some of my most dry chat.
Colour coordination is everything
I hadn’t realised that this would be an issue but it’s been fed back to me that the ginger moustache works a charm, but that the black one looks a little… fascist. There’s some support for the grey number too, which makes me look like a genteel, wise great uncle who’ll sneak you a fiver when your parents aren’t looking. Overall, I’m surprised that the ginge is winning out - this isn’t a commonplace occurrence in the world of a redhead. I’ll take the victory though.
Now, you may ask why I’m subjecting myself to life with a moustache - surely not in the name of a mildly uninteresting social experiment? Correct. This challenge is actually all in aid of a fantastic charity - Movember, which is raising money for a range of issues which affect men’s health.
In particular, one area Movember focuses on is mental health & suicide prevention. As we all know, suicide doesn’t just affect men but statistically speaking, it is more prevalent in men and a lot can be done to change that.
I believe that people ultimately want to feel ‘normal’ and if they’re not feeling ‘happy’, that this is abnormal and something to be ashamed of. In my experience, its taken a lot more to open up conversations about mental health with my male friends. However, every time I’ve had these conversations, it’s typically led to a feeling of relief at having shared experiences. I’d encourage anyone struggling with anything to make sure you reach out to someone & start talking to them about how you’re feeling. I hate to use a cheesy saying, but the adage ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ really is true. The Movember organisation is developing several mental health programs, including ones aimed at young men which will start embedding a culture of openness around mental health from an early age.
I know that me wearing a moustache is silly - but I think it does demonstrate that there is no need to be normal & hopefully helps to start interesting conversations with people about why we should be out there supporting men’s health.
If you’d like to support my Movember moustache wearing efforts, then I’d be enormously thankful for you donating to this fundraising page (thank you!).