Friday, November 5, 2010
Most beer-fueled dares in Australia wind up as Super Bowl commercial fodder. But when Adam Garone and three friends pledged over drinks to sport a moustache for the month of November in 2003, they unintentionally assumed the global face of men’s health.
“At the time, (Garone) was working in a professional environment and couldn't get over the many questions and jokes he would get everyday from co-workers, clients and even family and friends,” says West Coast Movember representative Kim Murphy. “He couldn’t get over how much attention he would have a day because of a moustache.”
That, Murphy explains, is when Garone realized his ‘stache could serve as a light-hearted icebreaker for health issues men otherwise avoided talking about with their friends, such as prostate cancer. And so, Movember (Moustache + November) was born.
“Men rarely talk about anything personal, especially when it comes to their health,” says Murphy. “They needed something to help break through those barriers, making them feel comfortable to start these conversations. The moustache was the answer.”
Movember’s following has grown as fast as its namesake over the past 7 years, with legions of supporters cropping up from New Zealand to Canada – and, yes, right here in San Diego, with locals like DJ Chris Cantore pledging to sport one this month.
It’s raised $100 million worldwide since its inception, the proceeds of which have gone to foundations like the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVEStrong. Lance Armstrong, Kylie Minogue and Hulk Hogan (did you even need to ask?) are just a few celeb followers. But with so many mustachioed men afoot, who wears it best?
“There’s a big debate about this in the office,” confesses Murphy. “Many love Rollie Fingers, Lanny McDonald, Tom Selleck, and Frank Zappa. The ladies like Salvador Dali.”
Speaking of artists, Movember isn’t just about facial fortitude—their recent Fine Line art exhibit hosted in L.A. last month featured work from local on-the-verge Kelsey Brookes, Cheryl Dunn and Chris Johanson. Events across the country are also planned—you can stop by the Double Deuce December 2 to meet up with the “Mo Bros and Sistas,” says Murphy.
As for all of you hipsters with a year-round upper-lip mainstay, Murphy has some parting words.
“We love all celebrations of the moustache! Wearing moustaches with pride is a wonderful thing,” says Murphy. “The next step—wear your moustache for a good cause.”