The growing of facial hair is popularly linked to supporting one’s team during playoff season. Think hockey, especially: the superstitions about not shaving began among the players themselves and is actually termed “playoff beard,” but multitudes of fans who also participate.
Movember is a completely different animal, and you may be surprised it has its roots in philanthropy, rather than just rooting for the home team or sporting a cool new mustache. In 1999, a bunch of blokes were hanging out in a pub in South Australia and came up with the idea to grow mustaches (or “moustaches” in parts other than the U.S.) throughout the month of November. The point wasn’t fashion – it was to raise money for charity. They coined their newfound project “Movember” (the name makes a lot more sense when combining the alternate spelling of “mustache” along with “November”), and what started with 80 men in Oz spread throughout the country, and eventually the world.
In 2004, the group began to acquire a tighter focus, when in Melbourne, Australia 30 men were tasked with growing mustaches for 30 days to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression. This event morphed into the Movember Foundation, which has since raised millions of dollars worldwide.
The group not only has a website to spread the word, but an award called The Moscars that lets participants show their involvement via video (comics cornerstone Stan Lee even presented the award in 2012), as well as the International Man of Movember (think the Miss World pageant, but with the best facial hair).
The U.S. website for Movember is quite the detailed affair, with information about how to get involved in raising money in your workplace or community, hosting Movember events, and attending parties throughout the U.S. in December. These end-of-Movember galas also give awards for things such as “Ultimate Mo,” “Lame Mo,” and even “Miss Movember,” which is “Mo Sista judged to be the best dressed and full of Movember spirit.” Fear not, ladies; you can fling yourself into this cause as well and support the men that you love!
So the next time you see someone sporting a trendy mustache necklace, belly ring, earrings, or any other new mustache-themed body jewelry, don’t automatically think “hipster!” and roll your eyes: there just may be a charitable heart beating inside that super-cool exterior.