Don’t say no to Mo’

A new trend in men’s style has erupted on campus in recent weeks. Standing in line at Common Ground, or studying in the darkest corner of Douglas, I am surrounded by a new wave of sketchy upper-lip hair growth.

The moustache is back in full force, thanks (for the most part) to Movember.

Every year I know more men participating in the Movember fundraising challenge, and this year my brother Eoin, ArtSci ’07, is among them. His team of veterinary students named ‘Vet Bro’s for Mo’s’ at the University of Calgary has joined the popular new movement to raise money for Prostate Cancer Canada. To do this, they have subjected themselves to a month of ridicule and judgement from strangers, their families and their closest friends.

I donated on the condition that he send me photos of what I had heard is an offensive moustache.

Movember was started by a group of friends in 2003 at a pub in Australia, and has since become an international phenomenon. Millions of dollars have been collected for charities, and global awareness about prostate cancer is on the rise. After all, it’s tough to ignore the statement of support plastered across the faces of your male friends. The rules of Movember are simple. One must have a completely hair-free upper lip on Oct. 31, dubbed “Shadowe’en,” and grow a moustache without other facial hair over a four week period. Thankfully, joining moustaches with sideburns is strictly prohibited.

Movember activities escalate each year. Thirty men took part in the first official Movember seven years ago, and today the number has climbed to almost 2,000,000. According to Movember Canada, over 115,000 Canadians have raised almost $13 million this month.

Men are now finding unique ways to increase their fundraising potential by doing things like keeping the moustache for an extra month.

Another new trend for Movember is the participation of all sexes. Most recently I was invited to participate in the Nov. 16 “Have sex with a guy with a moustache day.” Men, I am not sure whether that additional facial hair is hurting or helping your game, but I am glad that the moustache has become the new signature of support for men’s health.

I hope that in years to come, men sporting moustaches in November will be a pleasant reminder to think about important health issues but also, for men to see their physicians for screening and health risk reduction measures in general.

As Movember 2010 comes to a close, I offer my congratulations to those who stuck it out. If you grew a silky smooth moustache worthy of Tom Selleck or Ron Burgundy, I applaud you.

For those of you who could only manage patchy, fuzzy upper-lips, don’t worry.

There’s always next Movember.

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