Today is the last day of Movember, an annual, month-long, moustache-growing charity event to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues.

Now, I may not be the best ambassador for men’s health: having fallen through the cracks of the NHS, I’ve not been to the doctor in over two years and I don’t know if this growth is normal, but – hey! – I signed up anyway, and have spent the month growing a moustache in the name of charidee.

But it nearly didn’t happen. Movember rules state ‘Mo Bros’ must start the month clean shaven, which I did, using the only shaving paraphernalia I could find in the flat – a bottle of Herbal Essence and Brook’s lady shave.

I’d kept a full-beard for over two years, had thrown out my own shaver and was a little bit worried about what I would find underneath the facial hair. Would there be spots, I wondered. Or a tan line?

There were neither, thank God, but as I chipped away at two years of beard and the little bits of biscuit I found in there I started to think back to the first time I shaved.

While I’m keeping one now for charity, it’s not technically the first time I’ve had a moustache. Like so many Asian boys it came early – I was perhaps 10 – and like so many Asian mothers mine was reluctant for me to shave it off and enter puberty.

I did the summer before starting “big school”, but it kept coming back, each time thicker and faster. It meant that I left one institution looking like Frida Kahlo and entered another looking like an Ofsted inspector with a 3.30pm shadow. Teachers clutched their lesson plans nervously as I walked the halls. I was an 11-year-old man-child, ravaged by puberty, bones flung in all directions; I was stretched to six feet, sinewy muscle just covering the expanse of my growth; my voice an imperceptible pitch, miming its way through three years of school choir – a music teacher unable to harmonise my low growl with the soprano of my classmates.

I must have imagined that the feeling of awkwardness would pass as I grew into my body and became a man but, in truth, I don’t think it ever has. I’m just as awkward now with my moustache, as I was at 11 years old without one.

“Oh, this is not a look I’m nurturing, by the way,” I said in an effort to explain away my moustache to a conference delegate last week, gesticulating awkwardly at my own face. “I’m doing it for charity.”

“You’re doing Movember too?” Another delegate asked, joining us, and pointing at his own moustache.

“Oh,” the first said, laughing so hard her name badge popped off. “I thought you meant your glasses!”


One man dies every hour of prostate cancer in the UK – more than 35,000 will be diagnosed this year! It’s the most common kind of cancer here.

Movember is now in its third year and, to date, has achieved some pretty amazing results, working alongside The Prostate Cancer Charity. You can find out more at:

And look back over my progress at: and – please! – it’s not too late to make a donation.

I may be losing my moustache tomorrow, but I’m keeping these glasses forever.