In the movies, Ron Burgundy made it look good. In the 1970s, it made Burt Reynolds the subject of envy. And during the ’80s, it helped Tom Selleck make women swoon.
Ahh, the moustache, the ultimate machismo look a man can sport. Although it had fallen victim to changing fashion styles, it has been making a resurgence since 2004 as part of an international effort to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer.
Every November, a unique fundraiser gets underway during which men are asked to start the month clean shaven and then grow a mustache to bring prostate cancer and men’s mental health issues to the forefront. Movember, as it is officially called, is responsible for sprouting moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in Canada and around the world.
Since its humble beginnings in Melbourne, Australia, Movember has grown to become a truly global movement inspiring more than 1.9 million Mo Bros (the name given to men who take up the challenge to grow a ’stache) to participate.
One local Mo Bro is Crescentwood resident Joe Rodrigues.
"As guys we don’t really talk about our health issues," he said. "Movember at least provides the opportunity for conversations to start."
Men’s overall self-health awareness is a growing concern. According to the Movember Canada website, men die five to six years younger than women on average. Suicide rates are four times higher for men than women and more than five men die prematurely each hour from potentially preventable illnesses.
"As guys we don’t often go to the doctors. We prefer to sweep things under the rug and just not deal with it — at least I do." Joe said.
"Movember made me think about my own health and the health of my family and friends. If I can make a small difference by growing a mustache, then I am happy to do it."
According to research, up to half of male cancer cases could be prevented by making healthier diet and lifestyle choices. Preventative health is something that often doesn’t compute for men. It’s this kind of thinking that Movember’s awareness and education program is working to change.
Last year’s campaign helped raise more $125.7 million around the world and $301 million has been generated since 2004. Joe and his team raised $3,200 last year and hope to tally $20,000 this year.
"In addition to our individual fundraising we are planning a sud, spud and steak night at the world famous Palomino Club on Movember 15 and tons of other smaller events," Joe said.
"We want to smash our record of last year."
Getting involved is as easy as registering yourself or your team at ca.movember.com, getting a clean shave on Nov. 1 and then charting your progress with pictures while asking for donations.
"Some of the guys on our team grow ’staches that are super thick and lush. While others only sprout no more than six hairs a side," Joe said, chuckling.
"But, despite all of the ribbing they take, they know it is all for a good cause and are more than happy to suck it up for the month."
For more information, to register your ’stache, or make a donation, visit ca.movember.com or check out Joe’s facebook group at Movember Team APM.
Carolyne Braid is a community correspondent for Crescentwood. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.