News Canada

Movember is time a dash of 'stache

By Joanne Richard, Special to Postmedia Network

It's Movember. Are you growing yours? POSTMEDIA

It's Movember. Are you growing yours? POSTMEDIA

If you haven't heard, the 'stache is back. Well, at least for November.

The ever-important moustache-growing Movember has arrived and time to grow a mo to save a bro. Let your flavour savers run wild, your pushbrooms sprout and lip fur fly.

The fundraising phenomenon celebrates es its 10th anniversary here in Canada and while moustaches still rule, they've got a new motto: "Stop men dying too young." It's the brutal truth - men are facing a health crisis, but they keep it secret because it's not manly, and that's killing them.

Movember is working hard to save lives and make talking about mental health manly. They've been changing the face of men's health by bringing attention, awareness and funding to mental health and suicide prevention, along with prostate and testicular cancers. To date, over one million Canadians have taken part in the annual hairy campaign.

Darrel Mancini is using the power of his moustache - and his fight with testicular cancer - to get guys to listen up. Men drag their feet, not seeking out the care that they need.

And when they do, it can be too late.

Mancini, 33, is guilty as charged, but he got lucky.

After finding a lump in his testicle, instead of going to immediately see his doctor, he continued to wait. "I didn't sleep for two weeks, letting my mind wander to the worst potential outcome and playing it all out for the worse."

When he finally went, cancer was confirmed. His right testicle was removed, and since it was caught early, it did not spread. "I lost my father to brain cancer and my grandfather - my dad's dad - to lung cancer. I was sort of expecting to get it at some point in my life, but I never thought I would get it while I was in my 20s," says Mancini, a personal trainer who was diagnosed at age 28.

It's not about manning up, it's about speaking up. Mancini wants men talking about their bodies and well-being. He has gathered some mo bros and sisters from his Toronto gym, Primal Movement, and along with the Dundas and Carlaw Bar, they're hosting bootcamps, a finale party and even a curling rink on the bar patio throughout November to raise money for the Movember Foundation.

According to Mitch Hermansen, of the Movember Foundation in Canada, behavioural trends contribute to poor health: Men feel pressure to be stoic, and visiting the doctor goes against the harmful, rigid gender role norms. Who wants to be perceived as weak? "Widespread lack of awareness, understanding and stigma only create more silence around men's health issues." And silence can be deadly!

In fact, three out of four suicides are men. In Canada, suicide is the lead-ing cause of death for all men between ages 10 and 49. Eight men die by suicide in Canada every single day! Those aren't the only scary stats. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15-35 years old. And one in eight men is diagnosed with prostate cancer.

No more stiff upper lip - only hairy upper lips. If you can't grow a moustache, then move. This year Movember embraces a physical activity challenge, encouraging supporters of all genders, ages and sexualities to be more active while raising funds for the cause at ca.movember. com. 

 

EVOLUTION OF THE FACE FUR

Dr. Allan Peterkin knows his scruff.

"In the last 20 years, there's been an explosion of facial hair and anything goes," says Peterkin, a pogonologist, a.k.a. beard scholar, and celebrated author of One Thousand Mustaches: A Cultural History of the Mo. The moustache, in particular, was once considered a bit suspect but it's come into its own and Movember has definitely contributed to making it trendy, says Peterkin, a Toronto psychiatrist. "Today it's playful and fun and rebellious," an emblem of professional freedom.

"We are living in the hairiest time ever," says Peterkin, who was recently on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to give the host 'stache advice. The grooming guru recommended a Magnum PI-style 'stache. Obviously the idea didn't grow on Fallon - he shaved it off.

- JOANNE RICHARD