| 13.1°C Dublin

Growing a movember tache is a hairy issue

The more I see of men's vanity products the more I'm convinced the day will come when men will be rising as early as women to apply make-up, paint nails, squeeze zits and peel on the Spandex without batting an eyelid -- except to apply eyeliner.

In the meantime, increasing numbers of companies in the US are still trying to target their products at the old rugged male stereotype -- the Marlboro Man -- rather than admit men are becoming utter cissies. As far as I remember, the Marlboro Man wore a cowhide jacket, sat on a horse, gazed over towards Injun territory and smoked Marlboros. That was a long time ago, but the US still sees the Marlboro Man as the quintessential hombre.

Dove, apparently, plays the theme to The Lone Ranger to advertise its shower gel, comparing men's skin to cowhide -- that is unless you look after your skin with its moisturising products. Fail to do that, and you'll look like John Wayne in his latter days, presumably. Leather skin, dodgy back and even a horse that walks crooked. As for the Lone Ranger, wasn't he the guy in the really noncy eye mask? If he wanted to appear dark and mysterious, could he not have put on some eye liner, like Tonto?

Dr Pepper (has anyone ever actually drunk Dr Pepper and is it really manly and peppery?) touts its 'men's diet soda' with the tagline: 'It's not for women.' Wonder why? While another ad punches below the waist by hitting at the rising number of unemployed: if you want to look good for that job interview, you need to use our products.


But in the last bastion of craggy manliness, Australia, the men's skincare market was worth €40m last year, which allows me to segue nicely into my next grooming subject -- Movember. This nonsense started in Australia in 1999 and encouraged men to seek sponsorship for growing a moustache in aid of men's health in general, but in particular, prostate cancer.

Now, the moustache was consigned to history over the past 30-odd years for two reasons: the gay biker in the YMCA video and a growing fondness for spaghetti.

What was once considered a sign of a man's virility -- the hairier the moustache the bigger the testicles -- became a symbol for being gay (although none of my gay friends have ever sported a moustache). Which is probably why the advertisers are still trying to sell cosmetics to the Marlboro Man rather than the gay biker. So what's with the moustache guys? I'm confused.

I'll certainly hand over a few bob, but I love my spaghetti and grooming products too much to grow one for a month.