It’s November, and that means it’s Movember, a month dedicated to men’s health, particularly prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.
Put simply, men from all over grow mustaches to raise money for cancer research. It is, without a doubt, a good cause. It also opens the door for some creativity and, at least with my friends, some friendly competition.
My first Movember was last year. The cause had struck close to home as a good friend of mine’s father had been diagnosed with cancer earlier in 2011. Several of us had a blast as we grew our own unique upper lip hair, texting each other pictures of our progress throughout the month. It gave Thanksgiving weekend a comfy feel as we took pictures with each other and our mustaches; even my friend’s dad, who still rocks a mustache and has been healthy and in good shape in his successful fight against cancer.
I didn’t raise much money, but contributed $20 to my buddy’s team out of my own pocket.
“You didn’t have to do that,” he told me after I notified him of my donation.
“Sean, if I don’t raise any money I’d just be an idiot who grew a mustache for no reason,” I replied. “This actually means something.”
As the guy in the group who gets overly excited about traditions, I asked some of the guys over the summer if we were growing mustaches again this November. Evidently I didn’t even have to ask.
Here we are on Nov. 17, and my text message history is flooded with mug shots of several of my friends sporting several different styles of mustaches.
With a full beard a few days ago, I shaved my chin and neck, shaping my sideburns into somewhat of Fu Manchu.
From there, I ditched the chops and created a basic handlebar job.
Finally, I went for broke, for what I’m told all the lasses are hooting and hollering for, the straight 1980′s classic ‘stache. I call it that because my dad used to have one and my mom loved it. I’m told that in the ’80′s, legitimate and full-grown businessmen went to work with similar mustaches.
Now though, many of my comrades are discouraged from wearing silly facial hair. Since when did a simple mustache become inappropriate at the workplace? Twenty years ago they were stylish. Years before that they were practically status and power symbols.
But now, as I send and receive mustache pictures in a six-person, mustachio-bashio group text likened to children trading baseball cards, I find myself comforted in the brotherhood that we exude during this festive time of year. It’s become part of the holidays.
We have guys calling each other out for peach fuzz and claiming penalties such as the mustache being connected to a beard or sideburns and even I was believed to have cheated for not shaving on Nov. 1. I suppose I’m guilty of performance-enhancement, but it is all in the name of sporting a wicked ‘stache. One that draws ire, scorn and jealousy. But one that also looks presentable and makes people stop and think, “that actually looks halfway decent.”
It’s safe to say that for my friends and me, Movember has become an annual tradition. As November as pumpkin pie, turkey and football.