The walrus, the Fu Manchu, the Dali — so many moustaches, so little time.
For one month of the year, known as Movember, men around the world have the opportunity to wear their hearts on their upper lips in the name of prostate cancer and men’s health issues.
Conceived in Australia, where “mo” refers to a moustache, Movember originated in 2003, made the leap to Europe and North America in 2007, and has now become a global event.
Men are to be clean-shaven as of November 1. For the duration of the month, they cultivate their moustaches, while raising money and awareness for men’s health.
Originally, a few additional specifications applied. Moustaches were not to be connected to sideburns, or to chin hair, both of which were considered to be beards. Further, “mo bros,” as participants are known, are to conduct themselves as true country gentlemen.
This is not to say that some friendly rivalry is not in order. Dave Blottner, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse, is not only working on his own Movember soup strainer, he and his staff have issued a fundraising challenge to Bringing Youth Toward Equality (BYTE).
“It’s a great charity to give to,” Blottner says. “It’s a nice team building opportunity, not only for our staff but for our community as a whole to get together.”
In a show of solidarity, Blottner allowed his staff to choose his ‘stache style. They selected the handlebar, a distinctive upward-curling gem, often confused with the more modest downward curving horseshoe.
One of the seven staff is rumoured to be pursuing the “monkey tail,” which is a single sideburn that stretches down one side of the chin, up the other side, and around the mouth, but does not connect back up with a sideburn on the other side. It bares an eerie resemblance to its namesake.
Rival Chris Rider, executive director at BYTE, is growing what appears at first glance to be a classic moustache-goatee combo. Upon closer inspection — but not too close —there is a clean spot in the middle of his chin, qualifying it as a true moustache.
Rider is a veteran of Movember, having participated in its early days in Australia.
“I think when it started in 2005, moustaches weren’t so popular, but you see them all year round now,” Rider observes.
BYTE’s Scott Carlson agrees. The events coordinator believes Movember has done wonders for the moustache.
“Moustaches had their day in the 1970s, and they got associated with a certain culture, and maybe with porn, and that led to them going out of style,” he theorizes.
“Movember started out as ironic, but now it’s moving towards people thinking it’s cool.”
And, lest you think Movember is all about sex appeal, it’s also about hockey. At least one recreational hockey team, the Yukon Inn Boiler Room, is participating in the Movember challenge issued by the Canadian Adult Recreational Hockey Association. The team that raises the most funds stands to win a set of jerseys.
The genius of Movember is its ability to be in your face, and on your face — to create legions of men who are walking advertisements for the charity and the importance of men’s health. Not only that, these men can bond with one another and share their inner Tom Sellecks.
This may have been what happened when Shae Dalphond, community relations manager at Yukon Zinc, struck up conversation with another mo bro at last year’s Yukon Geoscience Forum.
The country gentlemen chatted, initially unaware that the other was fundraising. They soon realized that Movember presented an ideal opportunity for the mining industry to support a cause that is relevant to so many in its workforce, which is over 75 per cent male.
The Yukon Geoscience Forum, held every November, is the mining and exploration industry’s biggest get together. This year, it will feature three special fundraising events to support Movember, including a silent auction, a best and worst contest, and a shaving event.
Dalphond explains, “We thought it would be a great fit with the number of males in the industry, and even the females in the industry who see their family and friends struggle with health issues. This seemed like an opportunity to raise awareness and funds and provide support to those people.”
Dalphond is hoping Yukoners, including government officials and other groups associated with the forum will trade in their beards in support of their bros. Funds will support both Movember and the BC/Yukon chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society.
To support a specific group or individual’s fundraising effort, visit www.movember.com and search for “Yukon” or “Whitehorse” to see dozens of local participants. BYTE is fundraising for local charities at yukonyouth.com/mustaches
Glenda Koh supports modest growth.