Movember: Ugly on face, tough on gunk

I hate to be the guy who knocks a perfectly well-intentioned cause. It’s like saying you don’t like puppies because they pee on the floor. “But they’re puppies,” everyone cries, “so cute and fuzzy and clumsy and – just look at them! Puppies!” True, but try getting the smell out of the carpet.

So, yes, I am that guy.

I’m the guy who has a problem with the month of Movember, the month men grow mustaches on their ugly mugs, the month of Mugly.

For starters, Movember excludes women (with the exception of a couple of distant great-aunts). Thanks for inviting us to that Breast Cancer Walk, ladies, but this one’s just for the boys – as opposed to real life, eh, sweetheart? [Chuckle, leer, wink, chuckle.] You’re welcome to cheer on our follicles, of course. And could you get us a beer while you’re at it? Thanks, hon!

Secondly, Movember is tied way too closely to notions of manhood. As a man who was well into his twenties before he was allowed to sit at the grown-up shaving table, I can confirm that the last thing a testosteronically-challenged young man wants to do is to explain that he would love to grow a mustache for charity but just can’t (as he simultaneously dislodges a cruelly administered wedgie).

Plus, Movember mustaches seem to be played mostly for laughs. And no wonder; no one looks good in a mustache, not even my Great Aunt Felista, whose mustache is really the only thing she has going for her. Instead, you have men walking around looking stupid. (Yeah, yeah, “So what else is new?” Who writes the jokes around here?)

This wouldn’t be so bad if Movember were supporting something other than prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer among men in Canada. Every day, 73 Canadian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 4000 die from the disease every year. The problem is that the prostate is also the funniest of all the glands. Entire comedy routines are built around the various embarrassments associated with the prostate. So: goofball mustaches? Not adding gravitas to the prostate.


Because of all this, when I hear “Movember,” I tend to roll my eyes. If I had a mustache, I’d look like Groucho Marx. But I don’t have a mustache, so instead I just look obnoxious.

This year, though, I learned that the Movember movement is now supporting not just prostate cancer research but also men’s mental health.

Now that’s more like it, because nothing embodies a desperate cry for help quite like an impulsively grown moustache. Some of the most mentally imbalanced men in history have worn moustaches: Hitler, Stalin, Hulk Hogan

Mostly, though, I feel that when it comes to mental health, we men need all the help we can get.

It’s no secret that men tend to repress their demons and emotions. This repression is terrible for mental health, though great for the beer and whiskey industry.

In addition, more men than women suffer from debilitating brain gunk. What’s brain gunk? You know when you take apart an old kitchen drain and it’s nearly clogged solid by years and years of waste, scraps and general scum? Brain gunk’s like that, except it involves baseball stats and the chorus to “Red Solo Cup.”

Because of brain gunk, men’s brains don’t process properly, and without a proper purging, soon every rational thought is replaced by eighties-era Heart ballads.

One of the only ways to counter brain gunk is through humour, specifically laughing at ourselves. Laughing at others, on the other hand, doesn’t help anyone. Neither do the wedgies.

Silly moustaches, then, are tough on brain gunk.

I’m all for anything that gets men talking about mental health and hopefully making the issues as clear as the crumbs in the moustache under the nose on your face. And though I won’t be jumping  on the Movember bandwagon due to a) the principles I have stated above and must now stand behind like a man, and b) the awesomeness of my new beard, I hope you’ll show your support during Mugly in a way you’re comfortable with. And remember: you don’t have to be crazy to grow a moustache, but it helps.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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38 Responses to Movember: Ugly on face, tough on gunk

  1. My husband can’t grow facial hair to save his life. It would take him until Christmas, if he started now. Nobody would notice in November, so why bother. It would just be itchy, he says. Love the beard, BTW. It’s a good look. 🙂

  2. javaj240 says:

    More importantly, does your wife like the beard?

  3. Pingback: Bloggers for Movember: Male Mental Health | Human In Recovery

  4. Nic says:

    “So: goofball mustaches? Not adding gravitas to the prostate.” Haha! True.

  5. peachyteachy says:

    My brain gunk is uncomfortably close to that which you describe as male brain gunk. This is unsettling to me, but not enough to make me try to grow a mustache. I would need some of that testosterone gel that I saw on tv. Girls aren’t supposed to touch that stuff. You don’t want girls going all macho on you.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Brain gunk and testosterone are a toxic combination, and therein lies the problem. Girl brain gunk consists mainly of the memory of every single mistake their husband/boyfriend has ever done.

      (And that’s it for trading in stereotypes…)

  6. You also have to run the moustache offence gauntlet. When meeting someone in November, someone you don’t know well and don’t see on a regular basis, what do you do when you find they are wearing a ridiculous moustache. The natural reaction is to laugh, perhaps point, and to say “Ha! A hilarious moustache. I hope you’re raising lots of Movember money for that moustache monstrosity. You have really pushed the hairy top lip boat out with that one. Wow! Brilliant!”. At which point they start crying, say something about having had it for several months and how they were so incredibly proud of it.

    Another reason for disliking Movember.

  7. Pingback: Is one month enough (for poetry and other stuff)? | Drinking Tips for Teens

  8. rossmurray1 says:

    Reblogged this on Drinking Tips for Teens and commented:

    A year later, I’m still conflicted about Movember. Here’s why:

  9. pinklightsabre says:

    Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

  10. Cristina says:

    I think I read somewhere about this “study” they did where they asked some women to say what they thought about a guy with different facial hair styles. It was the same guy. I think the consensus was that shaved he looked too young, beard won the sexy award, and mustache was declared much to creepy. So I guess it will be a lonely month for many Movember people taking this seriously.
    On a more funny note I told my mum I’m going to get one of those glue moustaches thingies and she asked me “Can’t you just be normal like everyone else?”. I guess she has a point…

  11. Wait – your picture shows you with facial hair over your lip…. is that a more manly impostor you have for an avatar?

    You’re right – mustaches suck unless accompanied by beards.

  12. Ned's Blog says:

    I have been supporting Movember every month for about six years now. This year, as an extra show of supports, I’m trying to grow a mustache on my actual prostate.

  13. List of X says:

    “Every day, 73 Canadian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 4000 die from the disease every year.” For me, this raises the awareness about the prostate cancer. Moustache does not, because I’m not the type to question people’s strange choices for weird facial hair styles (especially since I got rid of my own moustache years ago), and the Movemberers generally don’t wear the “Ask me about my moustache” pin.

  14. ksbeth says:

    have you heard about the non-public hair shaving movement – move-member? not kidding

  15. You are right, no one looks good in a mustache. A good beard though can be a pretty good look! I will not be participating in Movember either, I’m more into the three or four day stubble thing… does that support any worthy causes?!? 🙂

  16. Aussa Lorens says:

    Ugh, one of my past bosses grew a creepy stache-sans-beard situation on his face for Movember and it was just horrifying… We put together the best collage fo dirty stache’s the internet could provide but he still kept it well past the end of the month.

    Also: I didn’t realize they were also raising money for mental health related things. That’s nice to hear.

  17. benzeknees says:

    I like it when women get involved in Movember by either sponsoring a guy who’s growing a beard or paying for kisses by the newly “rough” face. Maybe they need to change the name (like they did with breast cancer to where it’s now Women’s Cancers) so Movember brings awareness to Men’s Cancers. Men can get breast cancer too, so I think it would have to be included.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      It’s already a pretty vague cause. I understand this year it’s just about “men’s health.” Maybe it’s raising funds so men can go fishing and relax. Who knows?

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