Charles Arrowsmith

Charles Arrowsmith

Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Consul-General

Part of UK in USA [New York]

29th November 2012 New York, USA

New York State of Mo

Moustache Quilt

Moustaches have been a staple of British male identity for centuries. They can be comic (Basil Fawlty, Borat), serious (any of Daniel Day-Lewis’s efforts), musical (Freddie Mercury leaps enthusiastically to mind), even political (one thinks of Harold Macmillan’s full-bodied triumph). Handlebar, pencil, horseshoe, toothbrush… such variety of facial topiary means there’s something for everyone. Approval ratings may have dropped in the last few decades (outrageously, we went 40 years without a Mo in the Cabinet, and I can count on my score of digits memorable moustaches in the public eye), but thanks to the ingenuity of some of our enterprising Australian friends, they’re definitely undergoing a renaissance.

Movember’s founding has brought into the open men’s health issues that often go untested and unspoken of but which can nonetheless be permanently disabling or even fatal. Half of all men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime; one in six will develop prostate cancer, one in 13 lung cancer. Despite this, 24% of men are less likely than women to go to the doctor. Part of Movember’s mission is to subvert this last statistic, to make sure that men know the signs and aren’t ashamed or frightened to get themselves checked out. The principal focus of the charity is prostate and testicular cancer, and most of the money raised in Movember will go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the LIVESTRONG Foundation, but no men’s health issue or cause is too small, be it mental health or just general physical wellbeing. Since 2003, nearly two million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world have raised hundreds of millions of dollars. This year, over a million more participants are already well on their way to $100 million in sponsorship and fundraising. Not bad going. You can find out a lot more about the work of Movember and the causes they support by visiting their fun, stylish and highly informative website.

I first became aware of Movember four years ago when a friend back home in the UK asked me to sponsor him to grow a moustache. Amid the endless round of half marathons and sponsored bike rides, a fundraising merry-go-round I have always enthusiastically participated in, it was a fantastically original hook. I was a Mo Bro myself in London in 2010 (for which I received admittedly lukewarm reviews), and I’m delighted to be captaining the British Consulate-General / UK Mission to the UN team for 2012 here in New York.

Our team of seven (The Magnificent Seven…?) comprises Mo Bros from across the board of government departments in NYC – UK Trade & Investment, VisitBritain, the FCO, the UK Mission to the UN, our press and public affairs team, the UK Border Agency – and features our very own Deputy Consul-General, Nick Astbury. At the time of writing, with just hours left, we have smashed through the $5,000 fundraising mark – and we still have a bake sale to go, courtesy of some of our proudly supportive Mo Sistas here at the Consulate. Along the way we also hosted a fundraising happy hour at a local bar, raising nearly $1,500 of our total and pasting false moustaches on the faces of many (un)willing colleagues in the name of charity. You can follow the progress of our team on our Movember page here.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our generous supporters and to direct you once again to the Movember website, where you will discover some shocking stats but also some great tips on how to ensure that you and the men in your life stay as healthy and happy as can be. Remember: knowledge is power and moustache is king.

Some reflections on growing a Mo from our team:

“I confess it wasn’t always easy. I was a blond child, and though I’m a swarthy grown-up my upper lip clearly retains the memory of infancy. Did I dye it? Yes, I did. Do I love it? ABSOLUTELY.”

– Charles Arrowsmith, Team Captain (chosen Mo style: Blackadder Goes Fourth)

“I hoped my Mo would add to my film-star looks (ahem). Sadly, less Tom Selleck, more Peter Sellers.”

– Nick Astbury, Deputy Consul-General (chosen Mo style: Inspector Clouseau)

“Funny looks, laughs, some colleagues not understanding Movember but still supporting the ’tache – overall great fun and some really dodgy photos, all for a good cause!”

– Alan Shaw, UK Mission to the UN (chosen Mo style: bandit)

“Nothing keeps your upper lip warmer in winter than a handlebar. I will miss it when it’s gone.”

– Nick Jariwalla, UK Border Agency (chosen Mo style: trucker [U.S.]/handlebar [UK])

“What will I do without? Maybe it stays! The Mo the Merrier!”

– Carl Walsh, VisitBritain (chosen Mo style: “I didn’t choose the Mo… the Mo chose me!”)

“It’s not until I shave off facial hair that people are honest and tell me how truly awful I looked. Really looking forward to coming into the office on Monday.”

– Ben Brierley, UK Trade & Investment (chosen Mo style: Victorian explorer)

“The humiliation of having prickly blonde bristles that stick out wildly in all directions, but is still somehow invisible in certain lighting, has been a truly humbling experience. I tried to garner donations with invitations to a live-stream of the shaving, but no one really seemed interested in seeing that.”

– Kevin McAleer, Press, Political & Public Affairs (chosen Mo style: The Lorax)

1 comment on “New York State of Mo

  1. Thank you, I have recently been searching for information about this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon so far. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you positive about the source?

Comments are closed.

About Charles Arrowsmith

Charles Arrowsmith is the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Consul-General, where he manages scheduling, travel and budgeting for the CG. He is also often involved in…

Charles Arrowsmith is the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Consul-General, where he manages scheduling, travel and budgeting for the CG. He is also often involved in events and high-profile visits.