There is no typo in the headline.
Movember originates from two words—moustache and November.
Movember became an annual month-long event to raise awareness for men’s health. It initiated in Australia, where in 1999 a group of young men (who coined the term Movember), decided to grow moustaches to support charities for men’s health throughout the month of November.
In 2004 (again in Australia), a different group of 30 men grew moustaches for 30 days—this time specifically addressing prostate cancer awareness. Today Movember has become a movement which has spread all over the world. TheMovember Foundation encourages men to join the movement by growing a moustache for the 30-days of November.
After registering at Movember.com, a participant will start the month clean-shaven, then grow and groom their Mo (slang for moustache), asking friends and family to donate to their efforts. With their new moustaches, these men bring much needed awareness to men’s health issues by prompting conversations wherever they go.
Since 2003, Movember has helped raise over $446 million towards men’s health issues. In 2012, over 1.1 million men and women around the world joined the movement, raising $147.0 million. In the US, over 209,000 people raised $21.0 million.
A few months ago, my daughter Tamar’s boyfriend, David, told me about this and asked if I would grow a moustache in November in support of men’s health awareness.
Without hesitation, I said yes.
David works for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, one of the beneficiaries of the Movember Foundation and the leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating prostate cancer research globally. The number of men affected by prostate cancer is alarming.
David sent me some information. Unfortunately, most men discover that they have a problem when it is too late– regular and annual medical check-ups are important for everyone, and early detection is the key to treating and surviving prostate cancer.
Facial hair is probably the most distinctive (at least regarding appearance) between men and women. In some Arabic countries, moustaches are associated with power. It is probably true for other countries as well—just take a look at the police officers on motorcycles in San Francisco.
A moustache (or Mustache in American English) also separates the boys from the men. Not to be excluded, some women keep their moustaches. Just take a look at the images of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, but it was men who created the moustache culture.
The oldest portrait showing a man with a moustache is an ancient Pazyryk horseman from 300 B.C. Since then, men have used the moustache not only as a power symbol, but also as a fashion statement. In the past, when moustaches were more popular, there was an intricate culture of how to take care of a man’s facial hair. (Perhaps you are familiar with the Agatha Christie TV series detective, Hercule Poirot, played by David Suchet.)
Nowadays, you can even see moustaches on cars (Lyft). While I have sported a beard before, this November will be the first time I will wear a moustache. You can join me (even a week later) since the reason is to bring awareness to an important issue.
While traveling in Italy, I remembered that I needed to have moustached images of men for my story. I was able to get only two. At home, I’ve searched over 80,000 images in my photo library and found only one more—plus of course, my own one week old appearance. (Did you notice that three out of the four men pictured are also wearing glasses? Is there some connection?)
I am growing my moustache in Kauai. Not because it has the best environment for this purpose, but because it offers me an opportunity to work on my next book, “Business Solutions for Smart People: 5 Easy Ways to Survive and Prosper”. I met Bob (the man in the last photo) on a construction site in Kauai. As far as my facial adornment , I will share it with you next month before shaving it off (unless my wife insists on keeping it).