For those who love a clean-shaven man, it may be wise to stay inside over the coming month. By the end of next week the first hairy hints of handlebars will be detected sprouting from thousands of men’s upper lips – from thin and wispy to bushy and big – and by the end of November millions of dollars will have been raised around the world by men growing moustaches.
First grown in Australia in 2003, far from being a fashion statement, Movember moustaches are designed to spark a conversation.
One of the biggest hurdles men face in regards to their health is a reluctance to discuss the health issues they face. Unlike women’s health issues, funding, understanding and awareness is significantly lacking when it comes to men’s health, contributing to the fact that men die on average five to six years younger than women. Not only this, but the suicide rate is four times higher for men than it is for women, and more than five men die prematurely each hour from potentially preventable illnesses.
Movember aims to increase men’s awareness on facts such as these, educate them on important health issues, as well as raise funds for research and education specifically relating to prostate cancer and depression.
“The moustache has and continues to be a great catalyst for change,” explains Adam Garone, one of the original ‘Mo Bros’.
“Not only are awareness levels improving but the money raised is helping to fund some world class initiatives, which without the efforts of our Bros & Sistas, would otherwise not be possible. We’ve managed to get the conversation of men’s health started and now our challenge is to keep it going. “
Although growing a mo is restricted to the men among us, Movember encourages women to get involved too, asking ‘Mo Sistas’ to register their support online, champion their partner throughout the month, and help spread the men’s health message.
Last year, over 130,000 male and female Australians joined the fight for men’s health and either grew a mo, or supported their partner in doing so. The biggest year in Movember’s history, Australians contributed AU$25 million to the AU$72 million raised worldwide.
This year, event organisers hope to do even more, whilst continuing to inspire men to speak out about their health concerns.
“Movember will continue to work to encourage men to become more aware and actively involved in their own health, thereby increasing early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment,” Garone says. “We want men to know the facts and to have a relationship with their doctor by having an annual check-up during Movember.”
But until the inevitable ritual that is the collective shaving of all mos at the end of November, several weeks of uncomfortable and sometimes awkward growth lie ahead. It could, after all, take a few months before a chevron worthy of Tom Selleck appears on your face.
Tim Green, Principal Architect at Sydney-based software company Portland Risk, and a seasoned participant in Movember, describes the trepidation he felt taking part in the event for the first time.
“There is self doubt, definitely. ‘Will it actually grow? How will it look? Will people take me seriously at meetings? Will my wife still fancy me? Will my kids cry?’” Green says. However, all these concerns fell by the wayside. “A mo is a good ice breaker at business meetings; my wife tolerates it as it is for a good cause; and the kids cry the same amount with or without the mo!” he laughs.
Green does, however, admit that it can be a scary prospect going out in public for the first time. But perhaps the biggest concern of all is what style to grow?
“Best advice here is to get it growing and see what blooms. We don’t all have a Freddie Mercury inside us!”
For more information and to take part in Movember visit movember.com.
Throughout November, Bread & Butter Skincare will be donating $3 to Movember for every men’s skincare kit purchased online in New Zealand. For your chance to win one these kits, including a face cleanser, shave gel, face and body moisturisers designed especially for men, click here.