#HairsForHe: South Sound Mo Bros unite!

By Christian Carvajal on November 4, 2014

I'm a hairy guy; there's just no getting around it. Thanks, ample testosterone! With one infuriating exception - my scalp - I can grow hair pretty much anywhere, seemingly just by flexing for a few seconds. My face sprouts a beard at the speed of a Play-Doh "spaghetti" extruder. Thus, autumn's a special time for me, when I'm free from theatrical obligations and can allow my cheeks a break from the razor. I'm happy when others join me in my yearly "No Shave November" ritual, a phrase our culture has since portmanteau'd to "Noshember." Like many, I tend to conflate Noshember and Movember, but did you know the latter has a very specific purpose? It was conceived by Aussie blokes in 1999 as a way of publicizing men's health issues, especially prostate cancer and depression, and applies only to the growing of mustaches. All those other facial hairs are just you and me being lazy. Hey, no shaving, no shame!

The Movember Foundation, which refers to participating dudes as "Mo Bros," says the purpose of those autumn mustaches is to "change the face of men's health." And while the phrase "Mo Bros" or the practice itself may seem silly, they have laudable goals. As you read this, I'm recovering (I hope!) from surgery to repair an inguinal hernia. Inguinal (pronounced ING-gw'n'l) is a fancy medical term for "groin stuff," so, as you can imagine, men's health is very much on my mind these days. My father's a survivor of prostate cancer, and it's highly probable I'll deal with similar issues down the road. According to the CDC, more than 200,000 men each year are diagnosed with the disease, and it kills over a tenth of those men. Next to non-melanoma skin cancer, it's the most prevalent form of cancer in American men, especially among men of Hispanic extraction. Depression's a bit different: men are only half as likely as women to experience it, and more women than men attempt suicide. So why, then, do at least three times more men than women die from suicide each year? One hates to say men are more "successful" at killing themselves than women, but those are the facts. In some years, the male-to-female ratio of suicide deaths is closer to 10:1.

Obviously, it's more fun to read (and write) about wacky fall mustaches than "the true meaning" of Movember. But as you're trimming and styling your fancy soup strainer this month, try to remember we're all in this together. This has been a pivotal year with respect to men coming to grips with issues faced by #YesAllWomen, and that's terrific. In fact, it's long overdue. But it's also a good time for all of us, male and female, to consider men's particular mental and physical health risks. So the next time you see a dude walking down the Ave with a still-growing mustache, remember to shoot him a friendly thumbs-up. He may be a survivor of something far more embarrassing and intense than bad facial hair.

To read about or contribute to the Movember Foundation, check out US.Movember.com.

South Sound Movember

The Handlebar Cycling Studio is challenging men to grow the best 'stache during November to help raise awareness of men's health issues. Snap a photo of your 'stache at the Handlebar, send it to them or post it on Facebook and tag The Handlebar and be entered in a drawing for free gear and rides. Ladies, snap a photo with a fella and his mustache at The Handlebar, post it on Facebook and you'll be eligible for the same awesome prizes. 715 Commerce St., Tacoma

Red Wind Casino is promoting Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in November with Movember Moustache. If you wear a real or fake mustache to the casino Monday-Friday, you'll qualify for the 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. drawings for $125. Red Wind will donate another $25 to the Movember Foundation for each winner. For those without a moustache, fake moustaches will be available at Club Red inside the casino. 12819 Yelm Hwy. SE, Olympia

The staff at Fisher Jones Family Dentistry grows out its ‘staches to raise awareness for men's health. If you would like to join the Fisher Jones staff's annual cultivation of upper lip caterpillars, you may join its Olympia Moustache Militia.  For more details, call 360.943.4644. 2415 Pacific Ave. SE, Olympia

Do you know of a South Sound Movember event? Give it a shout out in our comments section.