21/11/2012 19:28 GMT | Updated 21/01/2013 05:12 GMT

Mr Movember- A Guide to Top Lip Based Japery


'Movember' is now well underway. For the uninitiated amongst you or for those who think I made a typical spelling mistake with the first word, take heed.

'Movember' is a month long campaign whereby chaps/men folk/blokes/lads (delete as applicable) sport facial hair on their upper lip in order to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer. Anyone with the capability of facial hair growth (more on this later) can join in and the official 'Movember' website boasts global fundraising of 184 million pounds with around 1.9 million global registrants. This is mightily impressive...which is considerably more than can be said for my own facial hair growing skills.

I cannot grow a beard. At the wizened age of 24. It is pathetic. I can just about get patches of juvenile fluff and a top lip that if left unattended for three days, looks like some iron filings have decided to hold a particularly poorly attended iron filing conference on it, with a hastily thought out seating plan. Therefore, 'Movember' poses a month long problem. I either embrace the thirty day (and night) challenge and end up sporting something that even Gary Neville would pity never mind Burt Reynolds, Des Lynam and a pre 2003 Mark Lawrenson or let my own vanity get in the way, don't get involved and walk down the street every day in November feeling like a vain party pooper and quite literally shamefaced.

I grappled with my own inner demons over whether to go MOvember or NOvember and ultimately wussed out. Here though is my attempt to atone; a short guide to the sort of facial follicle follies you may be encountering daily this month.

The Walrus

As worn by:

Tom Selleck, Burt Lancaster, Men who drink real ale out of tankards or handled glasses and describe all other glassware as 'newfangled' or 'poncey' (I speak from experience). Josef Stalin.

A classic. Sturdy and takes no prisoners (unlike one of the above) but requires considerable dedication to growth. A proper 'lip slug'. Propensity to harbour foodstuffs within it such as cornflakes and soup, basically serves as a hairy picnic basket. Ideal for those who enjoy a no nonsense and minimum effort afternoon snack.

The Handlebar

As worn by:Wyatt Earp, Iron Age Celts, Lord Kitchener, trendy folks in East London one might call 'Hipsters'.

Popular throughout history (many of the Kaisers having sported them, the German rulers, not the band from Leeds). Often requires wax to style, London's Handlebar Club states that qualification for membership is based upon the requirement of having "a hirsute appendage of the upper lip, with graspable extremities". Increasingly seen in the 'cooler' postcodes of London on bright young things who rather than seeing life through rose tinted spectacles gaze upon the world through an Instagram affected lens.

The Pencil

As worn by:Errol Flynn, Bruce Forsyth, Alec Guinness, Prince, 'Johnson' from Peep Show.

For those who like the idea of a moustache but suffer from strangely sensitive lower nostrils. A hairy 'tramline' for the upper lip, favoured by actors of a bygone era, requires high maintenance and regular trimming. Gives one either a thespian or mildly psychotic demeanour, depending on your point of view.

The Horseshoe

As worn by:Hulk Hogan, Angry Australian Cricketers, Lemmy from Motorhead.

Ostensibly a goatee with missing bits; requires a fair bit of pruning to make sure that full beard status is not acquired which would thus render it null and void in the moustache world. Sported in general by men with a lot of testosterone and/or rage issues.

The Fu- Manchu

As worn by:Martial Arts experts, Dr Fu Manchu, Mongol Invaders circa the 13th Century, Evil Villains/Geniuses.

Not for the faint hearted, only really suitable for those who are plotting to take over the world and certainly not suitable for those merely seeking a promotion at work. A shaved 'filtrum' is key (the tricky indented bit under the nose) so maintenance requires a steady hand. Do not attempt filtrum topiary during groggy early mornings or alcohol affected late nights in order to avoid butchering the septum, which is known in the 'tache industry as pulling a 'Westbrook'.

The Toothbrush

As worn by:Charlie Chaplin, Oliver Hardy, Adolf Hitler, Richard Herring, Robert Mugabe... The Gumbys from Monty Python's Flying Circus, Blakey from 'On the Buses'

The Moustache choice of comedians and dictators. Perhaps the most instantly recognisable of all the moustaches it belonged to the world of comedy first. Richard Herring tried to reclaim the toothbrush moustache by dedicating an entire stand-up show to it in 2009, saying "it was Chaplin's first then Hitler ruined it'. Working by this logic, if you see this moustache being sported on the street it is probably fair to assume the person doing the sporting is either thought provokingly funny or abhorrent. Mugabe actually wears a slight variation whereby the moustache is limited to the filtrum only, he looks like a jazz trumpeter whose 'soul patch' (don't get me started) has gone AWOL.

The Dali/ The Englishman

As worn by: Salvador Dali, Hercule Poirot, Dick Dastardly.

A hybrid of the pencil and handlebar this one is for the real exhibitionist... Belgian sleuth or dog owning maniacal car enthusiast. The Englishman variant being a moustache that instead of curling upwards, lies horizontal to the top lip creating a sort of human antennae look. The 'Go-Compare' man wears a corkscrew variant on this theme begging the question why no one has tied his 'graspable extremities' to an anvil and dumped him in the North Sea.