If ya can't beat 'em, join 'em
I’m shoveling heaping tablespoons of hazelnut spread into my mouth. Then alternating with forkfuls of peanut butter. It tastes yummy. For the first few spoons, anyway.
Let me explain: It’s Monday morning, and I’ve just returned from a glorious 14k (8.5 mile) run. I started just before sunrise at very low tide – the kind of tide that renders the beach enormous - like another kingdom has washed ashore. I ran up The Mount, and just because I could, ran around it, too.
On my way back, down the long stretch of Marine Parade, I imagine coming home to the PAHT-nah, who, after a scraggly weekend (Pete often ditches the razor for several days), must surely have scraped away the stubble I’ve been staring at for four days – the beard that’s way past sexy, well on its way to just-got-outta-jail.
Pete, with facial overgrowth, looks slightly sinister. One week sans shaving adds ten years to his appearance. Beyond that – well, I’m loathe to find out… Let’s say I’m not a facial hair fan.
I arrive home to find the PAHT-nah, showered and dressed in his flight instructor uniform (he does look cute in navy pants and white shirt with epaulets). He’s still wearing THE DAMNED BEARD (or, as I like to say, the beard is wearing him). Pete looks like a homeless pilot. Like he’s just crawled from the fuselage of a crash off the coast of Motiti Island.
“Didn’t you have time to shave?” I ask. Pete cracks a wicked, impish seven-year-old boy smile (he often reminds me of Finley). “Yeah, I had time,” responds Pete. “How long are you gonna be like this?” I ask. “November,” Pete responds. It’s Movember.
Pete mentioned yesterday he might keep the growth to perpetuate a tradition that supposedly raises awareness of prostate cancer. I say “supposedly,” because I suspect it’s a thinly-veiled excuse for guys not to shave. “Movember,” is a combination of mustache and November. Pete’s never before mentioned his deep empathy for sufferers of prostate cancer. Hasn’t told me about friends or family members who’ve survived or died with the disease. He’s not fund-raising. Or walking for a cure. He’s simply not shaving. That’ll show ‘em.
I’m big enough to handle it. At least, I will be by the end of the month. You see, my fretting about the PAHT-nah’s appearance has raised a crisis of conscience: How shallow can I be if I have angst about facial hair? I didn’t choose Pete for his looks. I chose him for his intelligence, sense of humor and kindness. I also adored his boyish, clean-shaven face, but no matter…
Just like I’m sure Pete didn’t pick me for looks. He’s not that shallow. He doesn’t care if I’m thin, fat, have long hair or short…because he loves me. Now that we’re living together, we can both grow heavy and hairy.
In fact, to raise awareness of the obesity epidemic, I’m staging my own Grow-vember. I plan to gain 20 pounds by the end of the month. I’m not raising money, taking part in events or contributing to a cause. Simply by feeding my ever-enlarging face, I’m standing up for stoutness. Coddling corpulence. It makes about as much sense as growing a beard to raise awareness of a walnut-sized gland nestled north of and between the anus and penis. Oh, I see you’re supporting Movember – your facial hair does, indeed, remind me of unshorn scrotum.
I check the NZ Movember website which states, “Movember is responsible for sprouting moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in New Zealand and around the world…These selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery…Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November and through their actions and words raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health. “ http://nz.movember.com/about The website states Movember is also designed to bring attention to men’s depression. I wonder how many women grow despondent during Movember.
Columnist Brendan O’Neill shares his hatred of Movember in a UK Telegraph article entitled, Don’t be fooled by the manly moustaches – Movember is all about turning men into sad, sober, simpering wrecks. O’Neill writes, “…the true aim of Movember is to remake men as permanently panicked navel-gazers who never smoke or drink or eat junk food and instead have interminable conversations with their mates about their testicles and prostates.”
Nice facial hair. How’s it hangin’, bro?
I must focus on my own campaign. You remember, Grow-Vember? Hence, the Nutella binge. I can’t give up running (otherwise, I WILL get depressed), which means I’ll need to eat 3,500-4,000 calories per day to pack on 20 pounds (nine kilograms) in the next 25 days. Hazelnut spread (brand name, Nutella) has around 100 calories per tablespoon and tastes a hell of a lot better than butter. I’ll need to carry the jar with me to ensure I consume enough.
Maybe I’ll even cut my hair short – not to donate it for wigs for cancer victims (an act much too useful for Movember) but simply to raise awareness of Tourette’s syndrome. How is cutting my hair related to Tourette’s? I dunno. It’s Movember. Deal with it.
Thankfully, Pete doesn't care how I look. He’ll still embrace me when I’m fat, bald and burping up peanut butter. We’ll make love like animals – he’ll be the porcupine. I’ll be the pig.
I gotta run – this Nutella’s not gonna eat itself.
Happy Movember, everyone.