Lip Service- Flaunting Facial Hair for Men’s Health

by Donna Kim-Brand

In case you’ve been noticing a surge this month in men sporting designer stubble, or plain old scruffy facial hair, they could have lost their razors, or they just might be taking part in the ‘Movember’ movement. This is the annual awareness and fundraising event in support of men’s health, targeting prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health. Since launching in 2008, they’ve raised over $550 million along with a few eyebrows, leading to media-wide conversations on the sensitive issues they target. Celebrity buy-in is extensive, a huge boost to the cause. (And it doesn’t hurt their career profile and social consciousness factor either.)

Actually, the concept is for men to grow and groom a mustache during the month of November, because anyone who can is a possible candidate for the cancers affecting men and should be vigilant. In addition, when a guy takes on this new hairy look, they are open to questioning as to what they are growing on their lip and what prompted their decision. Along with any personal motivation, said guy is now invited to educate the questioner about the issues, ask for sponsorship funding for the cause or at least send them to www.Movember.com for more information.

Men involved in this event are called Mo Bros, while women supporting their men or the cause are referred to as Mo Sistas. They can do everything the men do to participate, except grow mustaches…. well, in most cases. They are rattling the cage for awareness and participation at places of work, community groups, on college campuses, within the hair styling industry and even in women’s groups.

The rules for participation are simple – register, start clean shaven November first- perhaps with a ‘Shave the Date’ party, grow a mustache – no goatees, beards or fake ‘staches allowed, use the growth to start conversations around issues of men’s health, and always conduct oneself as a ‘true gentleman’.

Special events, like the  ‘Mustache Dache’, a slightly irreverent 5k run for men, women and children dressed as Mario or Luigi (the early video game characters), are held in multiple cities to raise funds and support the Movember cause of men’s health.

At the end of November, get ready for ‘the party you’ve been growing for’, the Mo Gala Parte, held in various cities around the world.  Prizes are given for best individual and couple costumes, featuring the ‘stache, of course,  Lame Duck prizes to encourage the follically challenged, and the Ultimate Mo prize, recognition solely for the intricate styling and grooming of his mustache, and outfit to match. Last year’s International Man of Movember was Tom Rickard from Sweden, who sported a cheerleading outfit along with his lip-top hair sculpture. He expressed gratitude at the chance to shout out for men’s health issues, especially with a global Mo Bro-hood.

No matter who we are, men ourselves or women who know and love men, we have every motivation to get behind the issues promoted by Movember. Better yet, why not get involved in any way that’s comfortable for you. And how cool to use our natural, visible hair growth as gifts for a wider cause, health issues often kept invisible behind walls of fear or lack of knowledge.

As they say on the Movember website: Changing the Face of Men’s Health, Through the Power of the Mustache. Now that’s something Hairy to Chatter about! Here’s the website again: http://www.Movember.com

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