2007 Movember Revisited – A Bro’s Mo Update

Sunday 26 October 2008

In 2007 I participated in Movember, the re-badging of the month of November. Movember raises awareness around men’s health issues and funds for carefully selected beneficiary partners that are also charitable organisations, with a focus on prostate cancer and depression in men. Since its inception as a formal charity in 2004, Movember has raised over $30 million globally, significantly increased awareness of prostate cancer and depression in the community, and is continuously working to change the attitude men have about their health.  

During this time I kept what is probably my first attempt at a blog, sending it out by email to those that had sponsored me with photos of my mo’s development. In preparation for 2008’s Movember, please enjoy revisiting What I Did in 2007…


Day 1 – Monday 5 November

Yes, yes, I know I’m a few days behind the correct start date, but I had an event on the weekend that I wanted to look my most hunk-monkiest and a thin layer of face fuzz usually does the trick. Unfortunately it didn’t this time… now that I think of it, it never does. Hmmm… perhaps the beard isn’t the right way to go. Note to self: stay sober next time and take notes.

Shaved the lot off this morning. Sigh – I’d forgotten all about that tingling sensation of the spring breeze on a man’s most sensitive part – his upper lip. Strange how work colleagues stared this morning – wanting, needing, yearning – and then ask if I’d got new glasses or something. Been trying to think back when was the last time I went sans stubble and I ran out of fingers at August 2005. Let’s just say it’s been a while. I’m pretty sure that many of the staff have never seen me without.

My dimples are now on full display – I fear being pinched by old ladies. Also I’ve lost that razored jaw line that I use to create, so now my 30-something flabby cheeks are exposed – a dread a future of St Bernard jowls. A man can hide his sins behind a beard; without one he is as bare as a… well, as a shaved face.

Interesting on the trains and the streets. Every now and then I spied 5-day old bum fluff. In this present hesitant unmasked state I felt some solidarity knowing that there were others who were also prepared to take the month of Movember on the chin.


Day 7 – Monday 12 November

Had my first shave this morning. I’ve done a pretty piss poor effort in growing so far. Seven days after my full shave, I still haven’t even grown respectable stubble. A friend told me was that my facial hair has gone into shock, after being allowed to grow freely for so long and to suddenly be (umm) cut short. As you can see, there’s not that much difference between the before and after shots. 

Off to work with the new look Clyde face. Mostly furrowed brows. One person asked if I had started growing my mo yet. Personally, I think I look like I’ve just eaten a pie and have smudged tomato sauce all over the place. I keep expecting my mother to spit on a handkerchief and dab at my cheeks. 

Going to a dance party in two week’s time where I’ll be surrounded my some of the beariest of the Sydney Bears. Fingers crossed I’ll have something remotely decent by then.


Day 14 – Monday 19 November

Is it me or is the hair on my cheeks growing faster than the hair on my lip? For such a hirsute creature I’m doing a crap job at this moustache growing thing.

So I have put myself on a moustache growing diet (or for those in the the moustache growing diet industry – a mo gro di-o).  I have a print of The Laughing Cavalier covering the bathroom mirror. I light candles to the spirit of Rob Burgundy. I have sat through the first two seasons of Magnum PI (unfortunately this has also flamed my past interest in Hawaiian shirts). Nightly, I watch a hour of seventies porn (admittedly there’s nothing new there). My iPod is loaded with the Village People, Lionel Richie, ZZ Top and “Weird Al” Yankovic (admittedly, again, not much difference to the usual playlist, just with less Bucks Fizz and Bananarama). I eat a diet of muscles without first removing the beards. And I’m working my way through the collected works of Edgar Allan Poe and Nietzsche – I’m presently up to “The Good and Evil of the Tell-Tale Heart” (that’s what I mean when I say “collected’).

But nothing seems to be working. 

So I’ve resorted to dire measures. An overly short haircut was step number one. Step two was the purchase of Just For Men – Beards under plain wrapper. But all of this is nothing compared to the level I sunk in the short days past…

It was Saturday. It was late. I was stumbling home from a jolly night of too much drag queen and not enough beer, and so had picked up a chicken kebab to keep me company. Down the dark alleys to my place I went, until I heard a “psst” from a blackened corner. I stop and watch a youth with a tick appear in the light of the moon. He was wearing a hooded jacket with SLAPPY HAPPY emblazoned across the front. The youth was just in jeans and a singlet. 

“Hey,” said the youth, “wanna buy some hair growth formula?”

I took a step closer, checking first to see if anyone was coming. “I’m interested.”

The youth tapped the tick on its antenna and it scurried around for the youth to retrieve a small vial from the tick’s jacket’s hood. Throughout all this I remained calm – I’ve lived in the Cross all my Sydney life after all; doing deals with large burrowing insects was nothing new to me. Besides, I’d read Kafka.

The youth flipped the lid and poured out a few small pills. I stepped closer and, after first wiping a kebabby hand on my t-shirt, reached out to better examine the wares. The youth ducked back to the shadows, either protecting his product or from the stench of garlic sauce of my breath. 

“T’s good stuff mate,” says the youth, “I mean, my mate thinks he’s some sort of blood sucking creature. How’s that for a trip?” Looking from the tick to the youth, I couldn’t tell which one was worse.

But eager for the wares, who was I to argue? I handed over my money and hurried home with two tablets in a small self sealing bag. Slamming the door I flicked on the light to examine my magic hair growth pills of happiness …

… you think he could at least had the decency to scratch the Panadol label off first!

Of course, this all happened during a week where I received a somewhat disturbing chain mail package containing a little wax man amulet that “promises” me a long term relationship and condom free intercourse. Even though both the police and the gay anti-violence protection group have failed to react, since getting the figurine I have had threesome sex, discovered 50 bucks of free alcohol, and received a 25% discount off the purchase of underwear, so BRING ON THOSE SUPERSTITIONS!!!           


Day 17 – Wednesday 21 November

You know those moments when you’re sitting on a cold marble floor watching two women dressed in black unitards throw an 8 foot wide balloon around a room which is being projected with images of a bronze-painted woman, while another plays a violin in conjunction to a backing track of guttural screams? Only too well? Don’t we all. I sat there thankful for my glass of straw (unthankful when it was empty mere seconds into the routine) and realised this is why we go to art galleries. Who needs a water-colour landscape when you can have interpretative dance? Anyway, in between thoughts of trying to work out how I could slip the room without being noticed (a difficult task considering I was sitting in the front) and trying to self-intoxicate via my remaining fumes of Old Spice, I pondered what should be the next step of my moustache. So I thought I’d leave it up to you.

There’s two options: 1 – Go the way of the Village People’s Leatherman (as I’m presently wearing my mo) and let it drape down the face like a set of stage curtains; or 2 – go the way of the Village People’s Construction Worker and shave off the dangles. 

The other question is: does it need a bit of colour? Rusty Brown, Earth Brown or Dark Brown? Actually, considering we are talking men’s hair dye here, it probably comes in shades of Brown, Brown and Brown.

What are your thoughts?

Back in the gallery, fifteen minutes later, up went the lights and we all clapped politely… all except one lass behind me who took it upon herself to scream “Bravo!” Over the speakers came the offer to return in five minutes and bounce the ball around yourselves. I hurried back to the wine, forced half a glass, then went and soothed myself in an aloe blend of Heidelbergs and Cossington Smiths. That Tom Roberts, he knew where it was AT!

Incidentally, please let me thank all you wonderful people out there that are sponsoring my mo – these entries are especially for you (so you know you’re getting your money’s worth!). But it’s never too late for the rest of you…


Day 21 – Sunday 25 November

Well, the construction worker won the night. In hindsight I should have given the mo a colour, a quick dose of Just For Men. I don’t think it matters that much. I didn’t shave the curtains till after the election party (there was something on the telly, I think it was Idol – Just text the word “GREEN” to 1900 864 586) so the above pics are taken about midnight, just before I walked out the door to the Underbear Party, where I was helping with the cloak check (amongst other things). 

The glasses went within two minutes of walking in the door – I couldn’t see a thing! – so they spent the entire night clipped to the side of my smalls. The hat lasted a minute or two more before that got too heavy, so in the end the mo was probably not as necessary as I had first planned.

The other pics (as you can probably guess) are of me when I got home, sometime after 8 (I think it was). Somewhere in between helping with the clean up and leaving the party there was breakfast with some of the others so it probably was about 8 then when I walked through the door. I was very tired and have spent the entire day asleep on the couch. 

Now that I’m up I should get something light to eat. Turning on the computer I have also discovered the that BBC translation of Jane Eyre, an event I have waited a year to see, started half an hour ago. Bugger. Will just have to get the DVD (Rochester is one of the spunkiest characters ever written. Jane, on the other hand, is an up-right duck). 

As I type this there are explosions outside. Could be one of three things: (1) We’re at war; (2) The winner ofIdol has just been announced; or (3) Howard has blown up Kirribilli, taking Janet with him. 

This Wednesday is the Gala Parte (with a little line thing above the “e”) for Movember. A field of mo’s as far as the eye can see. It will be a Pogonophobist’ nightmare! Should be fun…


Day 24 – Wednesday 28 November

The night of the Mo Gala Parte

(The Penultimate Update)

Read on…


A Night of Bad Planning and Facial Hair in Three Acts

Not by William Shakespeare


Enter Chorus

Two friends, both alike in beardity
In fair Sydney, where we set out scene,
Plan to meet and enjoy the mutiny
Of razors, blades and top lips clean.

This tale for who your patient ears attend,
Begins at the hour at what the work day end.

1.1 The Grand Quarters of Clyde

Enter Clyde

Gasp, I say, what hot day this be,
And here me wet like the first guest of Hell.
A date tonight – a planned meeting
‘Tween myself and kindly Benson,
 Thankst made to Brad for walking the dog.
Yet still tis only count of half and five,
‘Tis not till the stroke of seven that I meet the man on the Town Hall steps.
A half-hour refreshment is awarded me,
And so I enjoyst the Antiques Roadshow with its many coloured glass and finery.

(A clock strikes six)

Ah, the hour is upon me.
Luck that twice I have seen this episode of The Simpsons
One wonders what eps one hasn’t seen?
And such to toilet:
To clean thy skin;
To sheen thy cheeks of stub;
To preen thy shirt pressed.
How dost I look?: gorgeoust onest thinkst.
Time now to Benson meet – ah, musn’t forgetst ticketst.

(he checks satchel)

Oh Buggerst,
I’ve left them at work.
The fear now, what to do?
A plan! I ringst work.
Surely some poor soul still there.
A chime, and then another,
But Hark! The phone is answered!
Imelda! Praise be the Lord that you remain!
I’ve done something rather silly,
And perhapst you can relieve me?

For save! A plan does hatch,
And so to Benson I must dispatch.


2.1 A Traveller’s Station

Enter Clyde and Benson

Oh Knave! I chortle with glee.
Of all the Luck!

The Lady does not visit me tonight.

I poke and smirk:
Thy Rouge Rogue;
Thy Scarlet Harlet;
Thy Crimson Son of Crime.
These three and three again
I name thee.
If truth be told,
Bit of a dickhead, aren’t you?

Aye, I take this label,
On my head I wear a dick.
Yet we arrive now Sydney North
With trust in Imelda I hold our fate.

2.2 A Spot Back of Work Building

Pray tell me kind Sir,
Why must we search through these leafy shrubs?

The fair Imelda has placest thy tickets
Aside for only our eyes to see.
Search yonder noble Son of Ben
For an internal envelope the shade of a robin’s egg.

(He finds the envelope)

Behold! The Prize!
Saint Imelda be praised!

And now this league to the Gala go.
What shall it become nobody know.


3.1 A Luna Park

Enter Clyde and Benson, and guests and gentlewomen in fine livery

Alarm! What sights I see!

And I to boot.

Never have I such gaiety witnessed with myne eye
Men – all ‘stached – dressed in bright colours.
There, to my left, stand five Ron Burgundys,
And now, to my right, the Australian Cricket team.
Over yonder “FedSex” delivery boys
And attendants who have come to clean the pool.
Aside stands a gathering of Fred Flintstones and Bjorn Borgs,
While further still Fat Spartans parade.
All around gather sailors, porn stars, Hefner wanna-bes,
Surf life savers, and suits both flashy and gaudy.
Some men in drag, others dressed as hunters.
All bright and colourful and strange.

Yes, and if you think about it,
Just a little bit gay.

Aye, there’s the rub.

3.2 A Slippery Slide Ride.

Enter Clyde, Benson and KPMG Party


You Corrst?

Aye, I corr.
Check out that ride attender,
The one in fronst in the KPMG running shorts.

A see him. 
What captures thyne attention?

Zounds! Ist my friend blind?
Canst onest seest hist arst?
Notice the rear on that thing?
What beauty. What grace.
Ist like two halfs of a watermelon shoved in his britches!

Aye. There is theatre in his globes.

Alarm! His Globes are the Theatre! (think about it, think about it)

 His rump does linger.

 If only I to linger near his rump.
My Sword!

Comest, let’s to an ale.


3.3 A Luna Park

Enter Clyde, Benson, guests and gentlewomen, and Surf Life Saver.

To thy health!

And thou!

(They drink)

You know, afraid, I muse,
Beer really does taste like crap when drunk from a can.

In all heart I agree.

(A trumpet blasts)

Alarm! They announce the prizes.
 Pity I can’t read the screen
Due to such poor projection.

Yet there is no pity of what I see.
Be where myne eyes do march,
To that Life Saver. Surely he jest
For no life myne he save, but breath he take.

Yeah, ’tis pretty good.

Pretty good! You jest as well!
Is that not the most perfect Titus Andronicus?
Yarks! He clencheth!
Surely this a man who can walk a mile
Carrying a pizza box and two beers.

Like I sayst, my seriously in needst of a root companion,
‘Tis all a bit gay.
Those gorgest creatures of the same mold made
As gay dance party Muscle Marys.

I ask?

All lookst and no touchst.

Sigh, my Sage, I am in your debt.
While your words do touch my heart:
I must not touch their souls.

To home.

To home.
 Yet my kingdom for a roam.



Enter Chorus

Here ends this story full of mo,
Of a feller and his Bro.



The Round-up – Wednesday 5 December – The final entry for Movember 2007

Sigh. The end of Movember. All the mo’s have gone. Me; I went clean-skin on the Saturday and am slowly growing the old beard back. 

In all, during the month of Movember, 96,640 Aussie Mo Bros and Mo Sistas raised an amazing $10,948,540! Thanks to you, I was sponsored a whopping $510 – well over the Mo-Grower average! So let me say again – thank you, thank you, thank you.

Next year, I hope to see you all again and hopefully not just as sponsors – but as mo-growers yourselves…


Wednesday 22 October 2008

The night before I hadn’t been in a good mood, it’s a weekend, for Christ’s sake! What am I doing (A) getting up at six on a Sunday, and (B) sober? But in the morning, showered and walking out the door, I felt awake and alert, and the day, unlike forecasted, was crisp and dry with just the slightest hint of breeze. As the three of us would say many times – perfect weather.

I got to Milsons Point, and Sarah was already there waiting for me. I’m wearing a singlet, a long sleeved top, a jumper made out of baby polyesters, my work coat, a large brimmed hat dressed with a rainbow ribbon that trickles down my back, leatherette gloves, and a three-metre long loose-knit woollen scarf which makes me looks like I’m being strangled by a mangy carpet snake. Sarah’s just as prepared for the possible inclement conditions, but better heeled in a sturdy pair of lace-up boots. I just have my Redbacks which have seen better days. We skip getting a coffee, agreeing to wait till we get there, and start on our way.

As we drive over the Bridge I rifle through Sarah’s backpack: two boxes of muesli bars; a bag of lolly dinosaurs; another of mixed fruit and nuts; four apples; and a litre bottle of water. Fuck! I said, realising I have left my water back home in the door of the fridge. Not to worry, said Sarah, I’ve got one for you too, and she pulls another bottle out of a plastic shopping bag. Thanking her, I pop it into my rainbow crocheted shoulder bag, amongst the bananas and pears. I can’t be avoided – with the bag and the ribboned hat, I look very gay indeed.

We’ve been planning this trip for months, the four of us, trying to find a weekend where everyone was free and the temperature wasn’t going to be too chilly, but Rosemary had rung earlier to say she was too unwell to join us. I had the feeling that Rosemary wasn’t all that eager in the first place and only signed up under peer pressure and the promise of a vegetarian picnic basket. Considering we’ve decided on just going to a local café instead, the lure of home-made tofu pies had waned. 

The drive is a pleasant one and on the way we chat aimlessly to pass the time. We make a concerted effort not to talk about work – there’s enough talk about work during work time to want to discuss it again on the weekends – but, of course, the topic comes up and we bitch about this person and complain about that task. While the subject flits in and out of our conversation, it never stays too long.

Sarah doesn’t trust me with a map after that one time trying to get to Macquarie University – anyone would think I got us lost in a crocodile-invested swamp! – but when we get to Katoomba I’m given the task of finding Kim’s place. A-12, there it is, at the end of this street, turn left. Sarah said, When? I say, That street back there. It’s ok, we can turn left at the next crossing. Sarah said, Don’t you mean turn right? I said (sheepishly), Yes, I mean right. It’s not my fault, the stupid map’s upside-down! Sarah sighs deeply and turns right.

We park on the road and get out. The weather is so splendid that I’m overheating and have to take off a couple of layers (When we finally set out, I leave the hat, gloves and scarf in the car). Crunching down the driveway we start Hello-ing out for Kim. She pops out from around the side of the house all smiles to see us.

I’ve just been reading the paper in the sun. Isn’t it such a beautiful day? Come on in and make yourself comfortable while I fix breakfast. Coffee anyone?


That’s how the day began, and a beautiful day it was too. The sun was shining, the breeze was cool but not cold, and none of the scarves and gloves were needed. And the walk (when we finally got to our destination at the end of a hideously long and winding road), went well, including the bit where we started going in circles and would have ended up back at the car park if I hadn’t recognise a piece of lichen (it was very distinctive). And lunch, sitting by the coal escarpment overlooking the valley, was delightful, and the rest-stop on the way back was a dream. But then we got lost…

very lost…

…and we had to bush-bash our way to higher ground in the hope of a finding a landmark…

…and we scratched and splintered up our legs something terrible…

…and disturbed a creature, possibly a panther…

…and I had to climb a tree…

…and nearly fell when the branch broke.

There is a reason why grown men don’t climb trees – the trees don’t like it.

Eventually, we started back along what we thought was the way we had came, until we stumbled upon a couple enjoying a romantic afternoon picnic. All up we were only “misplaced” for about two hours, but the way the three of us leapt on them they must have thought we were mad, gone for weeks on end. 

Turns out the compass (never go bushwalking without a compass) was pointing west the whole time – it’s magnetic thingy had worn out.

What have we learnt children?:

(A) Always check your compass is working; and 

(B) Always go bushwalking with someone who knows the way.

The Cleansing Ceremony of the Burning Sock

Friday 17 October 2008

As I walked home from the pub tonight I passed a pair of blackened socks lying by the side of the road. Ahh, I surmised, I am obviously the witness of the aftermath of the Cleansing Ceremony of the Burning Sock…

The Cleansing Ceremony of the Burning Sock, a once annual event but becoming more popular due to tourist interest and the ever increasing number of young men who think anything sounds like a good idea when drunk enough, is an event of great spectacle and reverence. Many Disciples of the Burning Sock speak of, during the ceremony, a feeling an immense pain that is somehow “washed away” upon completion. Disciples talk of a common journey of curiosity, audacity, agony, and stupidity, and while many followers believe that one cleansing is more than enough, there is always the fool-hardy few that are more than willing to, next time, still give it a go. Many of these repeat “Cleansers” not so much receive public accolade, but wary notoriety of being someone with a very short memory.

Many cultures see the Burning Sock as a mark of the beginning of Manhood, and, as such, Ceremonies habitually take place at such established gatherings as Buck’s Nights, 21st, the End of Footy Season Piss Ups. While the Ceremony is open to much personal interpretation, it usually begins with the gathering of the Disciples, traditionally in a public area within easy staggering distance of a nearby pub. Here, while their partners look on, the Disciples remove their left shoes then toss into a central pile. Around this pile the Disciples circle and, with arms linked on each others shoulders, proceed to fill the air with chants of football team songs, Queen ballads and early Cold Chisel.

Now, the Grand Chief Sockette, a great and industrious man (it is always a man) who has experienced the wonders of the Cleansing Sock many times before, hobbles into the ring, in his right hand a broom handle on which hangs the remnants of a previous burnt sock, now doused in kerosene. It is seen as a momentous honour to be awarded the role of the Grand Chief Sockette, and is a symbol of stature in many lower income families.

After a short speech the Grand Chief Sockette produces the Sacred Zippo from his back hip pocket, and, under the hushed gaze of the Disciples – many of whom would now be experiencing the nagging realisation that this might not have been such a good idea after all – lights the doused sock and proceeds to limp clockwise around the circle, setting alight each Disciple’s exposed left sock in turn. The Disciples – now “Cleansed” – jump and dance around raucously howling the mantra:

“Ahhh! My foot’s on fire! Put it out! Put it out! Ow Ow Ow Ow Ow!”

Later, while sitting in the Emergency Ward, many of those who have undertaken the Cleansing Ceremony of the Burning Sock contemplate if such a lengthy build-up was worthy of such an obvious punch line.

Rapunzel’s Tower

Sunday 12 October 2008

There’s a website I like called deviantART – dA for short – an online art community. All art is accepted, displayed and appreciated, from traditional (drawing, painting) to craft (beadwork, textile) to interactive (web interfaces, animation). It’s a good site with excellent resources, incredible talent, and a strong social network always willing to offer comments, both supportive and constructive. It’s also reintroduced me to the beauty of photography – I’ve even bought some pieces, one of which I had framed and gave Mah for Christmas.

Today, on the Latest Submitted Entries page, was a shot of a nude man (Joe J) standing in a kitchen. What first caught my eye was not – believe it or not – the nude man, but the kitchen. Now that I’m a mortgage owner, I’ve grand plans to do up my home from being a run-down rental into an inner-city penthouse (it’s on the top floor so automatic bonus points there). The kitchen in the photo was very neat, very compact, with a lime green stove prominent along one wall. A nice kitchen, I thought.

In the artist’s comments section Joe J had written:

Hello. I am male 28. I am interested in finding women to share my photos with. I am a horses ass and like to humiliate myself.

Well, no mention of the kitchen! But something else – apart from Joe J using dA for matchmaking purposes instead of art appreciation – bothered me, and I had to respond. I knew I shouldn’t, but my fingers itched to tap away a comment:

Actually, don’t you think there is a problem in saying that you like to humiliate yourself? If you like to be humiliated, then you are not really humiliating yourself – you’re enjoying yourself. To be truly humiliated then you need (1) someone else to force you to do something that you do not want to do, preferably in a public arena; and (2) not to enjoy it. For what I can guess, you’re nothing more than just a run-of-the-mill exhibitionist, and who isn’t one of those these days?

So could you please get it right in the future, thank you.

Incidentally, I like your kitchen.

After a pressed “send” and saw my words cemented into binary history, I enjoyed a little smile, but only a little one. Soon, the mischievousness had fleeted and I began to feel ever so slightly hollow. Had I set out to make fun of an earnest person trying to make a connection with the world? Or was this guy really a schmuck who needed to be ridiculed and dismissed as the fool that he is? Either way, I should have let it slide, but I know I’d gleefully mock Joe J again, snap him back in to his box, and all with a curled lip. And preferably, next time, to his face.

I met my bestest friend many years ago in an Internet chat room while we took pot shots at the new arrivals. We were never rude or aggressive, just a pair of smartasses who were trying to be funny. We never once got kicked out of a room (though we would have worn that as a badge of honour) and for the most were just useful for getting the conversations flowing. Still, there was some maleficent pleasure in picking on the poor slups who had come there truly to meet new friends, be it for an hour or a lifetime.

Is it human nature that we secretly enjoy, and even relish, our mean streaks? Perhaps it is Schadenfreude to the next degree – where you willingly cause the poor soul’s misfortune? A moment of warmth settles in your chest, a slither of a serpent’s smile upon your face, and another breeze block for Rapunzel’s Tower. But then the wind comes, with it an icy chill, the Tower trembles, and you tumble back to solid ground… until the next easy target anyway.

I think the reason why he and I are such good friends and have maintained our friendship is that we live so far away. If we ever had the misfortune of being together regularly I’m sure it would only be a matter of time before we hated each other. And ourselves.

And the Tower would keep climbing, and the fall would be harrowing.



Tuesday 7 October 2008

This is what happens when you watch the entire three series of The Micallef Program while drinking a cask of red.

Oh, he’s so pretty…