Photography by Movember

Clark Gable, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr, and Freddie Mercury are all legendary, larger-than-life men. And they’re all connected by an equally iconic facial statement: the moustache.

What kind of statement is it, exactly? Dude, it depends on the man. Ruggedness. Strength. Class. Dignity. What is certain, however, is that one particular men’s movement takes moustache-wearing to a proud new—and important—level at the end of every year: Movember.

More About Movember
The Movember idea started in 2003, when a pair of Australian friends, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, decided over beers to revive the moustache as a fashion trend (because why not?). To make it a good cause, they connected the whisker-growing to prostate cancer awareness and got thirty men to accept their challenge and join them at ten dollars a pop. The next year, Movember exploded to 450 “Mo Bros,” as those who dared to get involved were dubbed; by 2005, it grew to over 9,000 before going international in 2007.

Fast-forward to today, and the nonprofit has six million supporters, has helped fund over 1,200 innovative health projects across twenty countries, and has helped save countless men’s lives.

More Than Moustaches
The cause focuses on four aspects of men’s well-being—prostate and testicular cancers, mental health, and suicide prevention—with an overarching goal of helping men to live happier, healthier, longer lives. And one of the big keys is communication.

Granted, men have a well-deserved reputation for brushing off their health concerns, whether they’re mental or physical, and the consequences are
often dire:

  • Every minute across the globe, a man is lost to suicide.
  • In the United States, three out of four suicides are by men.
  • On average, men die about six years younger than women.
  • One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men.

How does Movember help? First and foremost, of course, it encourages guys to “grow the Mo” leading up to November as a symbol of support. However, its annual moustache-growing campaign also encourages “Mo Bros” and “Mo Sisters” (Mo-Bro supporters) across the globe to champion the cause of helping men stay socially connected and be more open about their physical and mental health.

To that end, Movember offers digital mental health tools, including Movember Conversations, a free online platform to help start conversations with men who might need a hand, provides mental health grants for veterans and first responders initiatives in six countries, and a community-strengthening initiative called Making Connections, which is aimed at improving the overall mental health and well-being of young boys and men of color. The end goal? Cutting prostate and testicular cancer deaths in half and reducing male suicides by 25 percent within the next decade.

So man up. Be a source of strength for a fellow fella who may not be able to find his strength anymore. Get involved with the Movember cause: host a “Mo-ment,” what Movember dubs a get-together with other guys, and grow a ‘stache to help spread awareness. (See sidebar for tips.)

Above all, know that, in contrast to the well-worn cliché “You can’t keep a good man down,” life certainly can do just that. Guys, if you feel yourself crumbling under the weight of the world being on your shoulders—especially for mental or physical health reasons—motivate yourself to take the steps needed to improve your mindset, your happiness, your health, and your life.

Tips for ‘Stache Success
Movember encourages all men to take the plunge and grow a moustache. In true Mo Bro fashion, it’s got your back. Here are tips from the foundation to help you have a stiff upper lip about the process.

  • Be prepared: Aim for a style that will grace your face, but embrace the moustache that nature gives you, because whatever you grow can save a bro.
  • Be brave: The first few days, even weeks, can be uncomfortable as your Mo takes shape. Ride it out to encourage donations.
  • Ignore the itching: Remind yourself that men have endured worse in the past. You can stand a little face tickle.
  • Shape your moustache: Get across all the proper grooming techniques. A great Mo comes down to great grooming.
  • Nurture it, and keep it clean: Look after your Mo, and your Mo will look after you.

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