Last month I like many other men around the world spent the time looking like a registered member of a naughty list. The well named charity event ‘Movember’ has now distinguished itself as a traditional event every year and is growing in popularity since its creation. As this was my fifth year participating I decided to look into the origins of the event and I was left pleasantly surprised to find the boyish manner for which it was founded on.
Unlike the heart-warming stories of other charities you would find on an Oprah special the idea for Movember was first pitched over a drunken conversation in an Adelaide pub in 2003. Skulling pints while watching the world go by, Luke Slattery and Travis Garone began discussing the pretentiousness manner of the trend of fashion comebacks and how the moustache had yet to be involved.
So with the hope of the Mo revival Luke and Travis convinced a couple of mates into growing a moustache for one month and with that, Movember was born. In 2003, just 30 Mo Bros took part. The rules were simple; start on Movember 1st clean shaven and spend the remainder of the month growing a Mo. No money was raised, the idea was simply to see who could grow the better moustache.
After the success of its maiden year the founders decided to use their Mo growth as a force of good. They knew that men, particularly old-school macho types, did not get regular health check-ups and sometimes even ignored signs of a medical problem. So they decided to use Movember to raise awareness, and maybe some cash, for men’s health issues.
They discovered Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) and learned that one in every six men would get prostate cancer during his lifetime. One in 36 would die from the disease. Behind lung cancer, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men but at the time it wasn’t making headlines as much as other cancers were.
That November, 450 guys, called the Mo Bros, grew moustaches and asked their friends and families to sponsor their growth. By the end of the month, they’d raised $55,000 and gave it to the PCFA. It was the largest single donation the foundation had received at the time.
Today men (& women) from all continents take part in Movember to help raise thousands for many charity organisations. The organisation has ambassadors such as Joe Jonas, Justin Bieber (for both occasions one wonders why?) Cake, Snoop Dogg, and basically every rugby player in both hemispheres.
It has been two weeks since this year’s event has passed and few Mos survived the changing of the month. Most Magnums, pencils and imperialists’ moustaches have met their end and been sacrificed to the loo water gods. There is though that one style that every man tries out before it is all gone and that is the ‘Hitler’.
Interesting Mo Fact: In the British Army between 1860 and 1914 it was a regulation that every soldier had to have a moustache. If you shaved it off, you could be imprisoned.