I have been rocking an excellent multicolored beard for some time now. It’s become more and more grey, with flecks and stripes of red still in it as a throwback to my youth. (My beard has always come in red, despite my dark brown hair. Call me GingerChin. No, actually, please don’t.) But now the beard is gone, and in its place is a rather scuzzy looking moustache.
The reason for this is not fashion. I know this is not the best look for me. No, I’ve chosen to do this as part of the Movember movement. Movember started about fifteen years ago in Australia, when a few guys decided to “bring back the mo.” (“Mo” is apparently Australian slang for moustache.) When they realized how much conversation it started, they decided to make it mean something, and over time, the movement spread around the world. As I understand it, the point of Movember is to highlight men’s health. Their goal is to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25% by 2030. The moustaches are to get attention, and then use that attention to discuss a few illnesses that men suffer from too much: in particular, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental illness.
I don’t recall how I first heard about Movember. It was a few years ago. (2014, maybe?) I’m guessing it was on a podcast, but I couldn’t tell you which one. But something about it resonated with me: the focus on mental illness, most likely. It’s not that men are more prone to mental illness than women, but rather that we are more likely to ignore it, or not want to talk about our feelings, or just clam up and “man up.” Men are stupid, and we do this with all kinds of illnesses. Growing a moustache is my little reminder to myself, and all the men around me: “Hey! Go get a physical! Take care of yourself! And be honest about your feelings!”
I have nothing against “No Shave November,” another unrelated campaign, with somewhat similar goals. I just didn’t hear of them first. And frankly, I live a “no shave” life normally, so I’m not sure what I’d do to follow their pattern anyway!
I plan to write a few posts this month about Movember. See you then.