Moustaches take over November

SASKATOON (CUP) – If you see an army of moustaches this month, just remind yourself it’s for the greater good.

“Movember,” as it has grown to be called, supposedly began in 2003 when a group of friends sat drinking in Melbourne, Australia, and a discussion sprang up about bringing back the glory days of the moustache. To legitimize their dubious fashion decision the men raised money for charity in conjunction with their moustache growing.

Within a few years, the month of November had been renamed Movember by the moustache enthusiasts, and it is now currently referred to as “the month that was formerly November.”

Movember’s official online headquarters, movember.com, describes Movember as “an annual month-long celebration of the moustache, highlighting men’s health issues – specifically prostate cancer.”

Matthew Eldstrom, a server at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) campus pub, says he originally decided to grow a moustache for selfish purposes but changed his motivation when he heard about Movember.

“It came about originally from talking with [my manager] Dan, and he told me it would increase my tips 10-fold. So originally it was selfish. Then it ballooned into realizing November was coming up, and there’s a Movember thing people do.”

From those humble beginnings Movember has become a huge event for the entire staff of Louis’ Pub at U of S, and most of the men working there are participating. There is even talk of a “men of Louis’” calendar that would showcase the men and their moustaches to raise money for Movember.

While Movember appears to be growing in popularity every year, with the Canadian branch of the campaign raising four times more in 2008 than it did in 2007, some people have yet to hear about it. Eldstrom only learned about it recently from his manager.

“I always wondered if there was a guy’s prostate cancer month,” to mirror October’s role as breast cancer month, Eldstrom said. “But I never knew until Dan told me.”

The issue of men’s health is one that is often neglected for various reasons. Movember is one part of a growing move away from the stigma surrounding public discussion of men’s health. “Mo bros,” as the men growing moustaches are referred to, both raise money and talk to people about prostate cancer.

Public awareness of and discussion about men’s health is important to stop unnecessary casualties, especially when it comes to prostate cancer, a type that is “over 90 per cent curable if detected and treated in its earliest stages,” according to Steve Jones, the CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada.

While only men can participate in terms of growing moustaches, women who want to get involved with Movember can round up male acquaintances to participate. For their efforts, these women are known as “Mo sistas.”

In 2008 the Canadian branch of the movement raised $2.4 million, making it the largest charity event for men alone in Canadian history. All the money raised in Canada during the campaign is spent in Canada on raising awareness as well as research into prevention, detection and a cure for prostate cancer.

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