First, some background: I wrote two – count ’em, two – Movember-related articles in the past three weeks. The original pitch was based entirely on my absolute hatred for greasy ’staches, and I wanted a chance to vent my feelings in the semi-public forum of the J School publication, Ink.
I started doing research, and my embarrassingly little knowledge on the topic of Movember itself was soon apparent. By the time I talked to a Movember supporter out of Richmond Hill, Ontario for my first interview, I was entirely humbled.
Far from being simply an excuse for “rig pigs” (enter: my boyfriend, whom I love very much but feel certain he would describe himself in much the same way) and other “ridiculous” men and boys to prove to themselves they are capable of growing hair above their upper lip, Movember actually has a purpose – a damn good one at that.
The idea behind the moustache is to raise funds for prostate health, as well as encourage discussion between men regarding health issues. And it works – according to the Movember website, 34 per cent of “mo bros” sought medical attention as a result of participating, and a further 32 per cent encouraged a friend, family member, or acquaintance to do the same. So far, Canadian “mo bros” have raised $12,171,848 for Prostate Cancer Canada.
The thing that my interviewee said that struck a chord with me personally was that women also participate – sometimes they register and fundraise, but mostly, they lend support to their male counterparts. He told me, “if women can support, or at least accept the moustache, then there’s no reason why men can’t grow one.”
Well – imagine that. I supposed his statement meant that I should be patting my boyfriend on the back, not nagging him to shave “the grease ’stache” (that’s actually what I call it – rude, I know) six times per hour. I can’t say I was immediately reformed. I can’t even say that by now, well into the fourth week of Movember, I have quit complaining about it. Because to be entirely honest, I haven’t. I think my boyfriend is an incredibly attractive man, but he just doesn’t look good with a moustache. So, similar to how he would complain if I ever decided to cut my hair off, I just have to make a comment every now and again about how he would look so much better clean shaven.
But I don’t adamantly insist that he shave anymore. Because I quizzed him, and he really does know why he does it every year – too bad he never shared with me, he could’ve saved himself three Movembers of hearing me repeatedly ask why he thought he looked good with that thing. But I digress – sort of. The point I’m really making is that I’m sure many men know they don’t make People’s 100 sexiest man list with a moustache. There’s a reason the moustache is no longer considered “cool.”
That doesn’t mean, though, that it can’t be brought back for one month of the year to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues. I might’ve preferred if the men who came up with the idea had decided to plaster everything in the two-tone blue stripes of the official prostate cancer ribbon, but if a moustache is what it takes, then a moustache it is.
Mo’ on – but only for a few more days, gentlemen. Once Dec. 1 comes, try to find another way to show your support.