Here is a question to ponder: Can a mustache create conversation about men’s health issues? The answer may, or may not, surprise you. Before the month of November my answer would have been no. I mean, it is facial hair. How could it lead to discussion about men’s health concerns? I then stumbled upon a great TED talk by Adam Garone, founder of Movember. Movember is a mustache growing charity event held during the month of November each year. Each mustache grown during the month helps to raise funds, and awareness, for men’s health issues like prostate and testicular cancer. I was impressed with the power of the movement. I immediately wanted to participate. So, I made the decision to grow facial hair for the first time in over 15 year and a mustache for the first time in my life.
It did not take long for others to make comments. On day one I had many people make comments and ask question like “did you forget to shave this morning?” I had no idea that others were so interested in my grooming habits. Each question, and comment, gave me the opportunity to introduce Movember and the reasons behind my not shaving. Day after day, my mustache grew and so did the conversation. I shared statistics about men’s health concerns, especially prostate cancer, with all that I could. Did you know that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in the life? What if I told you that more than 30,000 men will die this year due prostate cancer? These are statistics that men must know. These were statistics that I didn’t know. My participation in Movember allowed me to learn more about issues that may affect me in future and share information and statistics with others. Three gentlemen during the month said that they appreciated the information and that they needed to get checked out. Those moments alone made growing a terrible mustache worthwhile.
The month of November was very uncomfortable for me. I hadn’t left my home unshaven for many years and I never felt comfortable with the growth on my face. I did enjoy the interactions, conversations, and the laughs that came at the expense of my mustache. Here are a few of the names and comments heard during the month:
- “Hey, vote for Pedro!”
- “What is that on your face?”
- “Why is your lip so dirty?”
- “You look like a police officer. Were you on Reno 911 or Chips?”
- “You look like a creeper and a pedophile. Better lock the doors”
- “That is one helluva pornstache!”
Movember is a movement that has raised millions of funds for men’s health issues while enhancing awareness. I focused on creating awareness versus raising funds. I wanted to see if growing a mustache could create conversation about men’s health. I wanted to advocate for Movember as a MoBro. Although I felt very uncomfortable growing a mustache, I am very glad that I chose to participate.