mustacheWhen my grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years back, his doctor told him that in this day and age, pretty much any man who lives long enough will be stricken with the same affliction.

That’s a harrowing thing to hear, that prostate cancer is so extremely prevalent.

So it’s what I say to people every fall when they snark something about my mustache. This means I say it often, because in this day and age, if you are a more or less normal dude, you’re not likely going to grow a mustache unless it’s for a reason (which is never “it makes me more attractive”). And if you’re doing so in November, the reason is of course, that you’re participating in Movember, the month when men the world over join together in annual celebration of the majestic mustache.

The reason for this? To raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer (and occasionally other maladies, too, like depression), and to raise bucks for a myriad charities the world over that fund cancer combat and research.
Movember is an amazing phenomenon. It’s built partially on the premise of wish-fulfillment – because most every man wants an excuse to grow a mustache, and partially on the premise of philanthropy and awareness.

Make no mistake about it – mustaches do make people aware. Movember hasn’t been around long enough yet for people to NOT comment when you grow a mustache. (I find this to be true even where I live, which is the hipster capital of the world.) And it’s a fluid operation. It isn’t like wearing pink for breast cancer awareness (though this is by no means a knock on the amazing efforts of the Komen Foundation), in that many people will say something to you about the progress (aka burgeoning majesty) of your mustache over the month. Take advantage of this by telling them a different fact about prostate cancer or testicular cancer or anything that’s going to spur them to help their fellow man.

The rules of Movember, pulled from the official Movember global charity website, are as follows:

1. Once registered at Movember.com, each Mo Bro must begin the 1st of Movember with a clean shaven face.
2. For the entire month of Movember, each Mo Bro must grow and groom a mustache.
3. There is to be no joining of the Mo to your sideburns. (That’s considered a beard.)
4. There is to be no joining of the handlebars to your chin (That’s considered a goatee.)
5. Each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true country gentleman.

Pretty basic.

If you sign up at the official site, you can solicit donations from friends, family, and acquaintances. Their charitably forked-over funds will go to the Movember Foundation, a charity that supports programs that combat prostate and testicular cancer. The foundation’s vision is to have a lasting effect on men’s health.

Also, here is a link to the American Mustache Institute’s Style Guide.

Happy growing and showing.