While everyone is preparing to gobble up turkey this week, you might notice something strange going on with the upper lips of some of the men around you. What you thought earlier in the month was a chocolate milk mustache or an errant nose shadow was, in fact, the beginnings of a real mustache; or so your friends and coworkers would hope.
But why are men around the world suddenly tending to the hairs struggling to grow below their noses? For some, it might be a Magnum PI complex, but for most of them, it’s probably because the month of November goes by another name, too: Movember.
After spending the month of October talking about women’s health, November has become a month to raise awareness for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer. And what better way to bring awareness to others than to grow a manly ‘stache and raise money to go towards cancer research?
Movember traditions began in Melbourne, Australia, and formal campaigns gradually started to spring up around the world. The month starts out with a freshly shaven face and a pledge to raise money that will ultimately go to Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, as directed by the organizers at Movember.com. (In 2011 alone, over 854,000 people around the world raised $126.3 million.) Throughout the month, men groom their budding lip rugs into whatever interesting form they decide it should take (see below).
Movember isn’t just to raise money; it is also an effort to get men talking about serious health issues. Women have become more aware of the importance of breast cancer screening through October awareness efforts, and men are working to do the same with prostate and testicular cancer screening with their Movember mustaches.
So what style should one’s mustache take on? There are so many great options that the real trick is choosing just one. There’s the popular handlebar mustache; the classic Magnum, PI look (not to be confused with the Burt Reynolds); the Ron Swanson/Nick Offerman manly ‘stache; the sometimes questionable fu Manchu; the perfectly combed “Hercule Poirot;” the Mario (a la Super Mario Bros); the somewhat eccentric Salvador Dali; the classy Clark Gable; the spicy Carlos Santana; the bushy Albert Einstein; and so many more.
Whether your mustache or that of your friend is full and bushy or struggling and patchy, keep working on it and supporting those around you! It may take a while to get it growing just right, but in the end you’ll end up with an upper lip full of joy and, hopefully, a heightened awareness among your friends of the health issues men face every day.
To donate to Movember, visit www.movember.com.